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Can UK Labour do it?

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, December 9th, 2019 - 164 comments
Categories: boris johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, labour, uk politics - Tags:

Very unlikely.

From the polls taken in the UK a few hours ago, the Conservatives are in for an historic fourth consecutive term in Parliament.

Just six months ago the Conservatives were in total disarray, with their Prime Minister regularly humiliated in Europe and in the UK Parliament. Labour should have been able to best a government that was falling apart and that had pulled Parliament into total paralysis for several years in a row.

Rather than get to the role of leadership, it’s worth looking for a moment at the main party policy highlights.

UK Labour are not short of attractive policies.

Their leader Jeremy Corbyn launched the Labour Party manifesto with an announcement of a spending spree of £83 billion to bring in “real change”, which will be funded by raising taxes and extra borrowing, should the Labour Party win a majority in the 2019 general election.

The Labour leader vowed to take on “vested interests” in society and set out a radical programme.

Labour’s 105-page manifesto set out plans what Mr Corbyn described as a “radical and ambitious plan to transform our country in decades.”

They include:

– Increase the health budget by 4.3%, and that includes scrapping prescription charges, no charges for parking at hospitals, and free basic dentistry. And of course not selling out the entire national system through a trade deal with the United States once the UK leaves the EU

– A “final say on Brexit” referendum, and Corbyn has promised he will remain neutral if he gets to hold one

– Raise the minimum wage from £8.21 to £10 an hour.

– Pension age remains at 66. And reviews for starting younger if you’ve been in an arduous job.

– A comprehensive nationside National Care Service, like they already have operating in Scotland.

– Bring forward the “net carbon zero” target by about a decade

– Re-nationalise key industries such as Royal Mail, the Big Six energy firms, the national grid, the entire water industry, all railways, and the broadband arm on British Telecom.

– Free bus travel for everyone under 25

And there’s more, but you can get a sense it’s not lacking in ambition.

Whatever labels one would wish to put on them, UK Labour have a pretty proud history of similarly bold policy action, which you can see in their history.

But this time – unlike 2017 – their campaign hasn’t caught on with the general public.

It made some inroads for a while. Unfortunately that was after several months of tanking. And it has failed to push upward in the critical final days towards 40%.

It’s clearly not yet time to call on whether Labour will achieve power, because miracles have happened before. Did anyone really think that World War 2 giant Winston Churchill would be turfed out so soon by Labour after his leadership to victory? But it happened.

OK sure, this isn’t a post-war moment. And as per above, it’s very unlikely.

It’s just that Corbyn feels as policy-nerdy as Attlee.

For the long version of what I mean by that, see Ken Loach’s “Spirit of ’45”, which had plenty of interviews with those who executed that bold set of policies and also those who benefitted.

That is a serious warm bath in soporific nostalgia. Back when the state was the state and did stuff.

Maybe Labour winning the battle on Instagram means they lose but gain even more of the young generation to secure a win some other time in the future. Pretty cold comfort.

In my industry I talk to a lot of recent UK professional emigrants to New Zealand. They generally refer to the UK now in very negative terms. Words like “shithole” and “wrecked”. There’s not a lot of belief in the effectiveness of politics to change things for good.

That view will certainly be reinforced by a further Conservative win.

So for a sense of what is likely to be implemented under a Boris Johnson government, here’s a few of their manifesto highlights:

– For England itself, increase the number of nurses by 50,000

– Leave the EU in January 2020

– No Income Tax, VAT, or National Insurance Tax rises

– Pension increased per year by either rate of inflation, or CPI, or 2.5% (whichever is highest)

– No one will sell their home to pay for care

– Net carbon emissions by 2050

– A points-based immigration system

There’s more in the summary here.

There’s a very strong likelihood that this is another term – possibly another 5 year term – in which the memory of what is possible for the UK left recedes further and further away into historical memory.

So in policy terms there is quite a big set of differences, and for the UK as a whole quite a lot at stake for the direction the UK could go.

By the end of this week we should know which way that is.

164 comments on “Can UK Labour do it?”

  1. Blazer 1

    I guess Labours promises seem …'tooo good to …be true'!

  2. Sanctuary 2

    The defeatism, cynicism and nativist sentiment of a defeated boomer generation infects everything in the UK to the point of morbidity at the moment. These defeated boomers – the vast majority of UK boomers perceive themselves as defeated, hence their inchoate anger – had welfare, unions and a reasonable living standard, albeit with many people excluded from the class compromise. They had dreams of using that launch pad to achieve much more. Under Thatcherism they lost so much of what they had that they had little choice but to adopt neoliberalism as a means to just sustain themselves. Buy a council house, rely on rising prices to borrow more, rely on self-improvement, training and education, to get a ahead. Use debt to supplement wages. That strategy showed diminishing returns well before 2008, but after that it broke down dramatically. These angry boomers are the engine room of Britain’s slide to fascism.

    The meta is the gross mismanagement and decline of 150 years of rotten rule by an incompetent, decadent and unreformable establishment is now accelerating. The UK is in serious trouble. The British ruling elites resemble an over-crowded cage of rats with diminishing resources who are now turning on each other. The polarisation, the lack of hope, they engender is unbelievable. North Sea oil papered over the cracks, but that wealth was squandered on tax cuts, weapons and buying off the working class with bread and circuses whilst opening Britain up to corrupt oligarchs and international finance. The smiling ghost of Oswald Mosley stalks the print media, which is now dominated by Fascism.  

    The thorough character assassination of Jeremy Corbyn by the Oxbridge liberal elites in connivance with the far right billionaire media, the Israel government and big finance shows how Britain's elites are now no longer capable of reform – they simply seek to deny, destroy and debunk any opposition to their scramble to retain their piece of the diminsihing pie.

    The only hope lies in an interesting statistic I read today. UK Labour enjoyed a 15 point lead among 18-24 year olds in 2010, by 2017 it was 54 per cent. Why? The clue might be that in the decade from 2007 to 2016, all new wealth went to over-45s (though unevenly), while incomes fell by around 10 per cent among those aged 16-34. This polarisation holds out some hope, because Corbynism has given young people in the UK hope. The youthfulness of Momentum is extraordinary. Youth culture in the UK has overwhelmingly identified with Corbyn's Labour project.

    The young are the future, the only question is how far the forces of fascism will go to stop them.

    • Blazer 2.1


      Post of the ..year!

    • Dean Reynolds 2.2

      Sanctuary, what a brilliant analysis of the UK today! Your intelligence & insight have sparked Gosman's right wing diatribe & exposed it for the facile nonsense that it is.

      • Gosman 2.2.1

        Do you mean the analysis that postulates Israel is influencing the UK election by making up allegations of antisemitism in UK Labour?

        • Psycho Milt

          The analysis that Israel's supporters in the UK are putting a lot of effort into getting people to equate support for the Palestinians with anti-semitism, yes.  The Israeli government may or may not be involved, but that's a side issue.

    • Heather Grimwood 2.3

      I  have  pondered  the  almost  total denigration  of  Corbyn  by  the  British  press  and  can but  think  that  his  logical,  reasoned,  well spoken  approach  showing  a  calm  dignity must  have caused  fear  on  the  right.  

      I  am  putting  my  faith  in  the  young  whom  I  feel  will  use  their  votes  to  ensure  survival.

      • Gosman 2.3.1

        If you want to know why people on the right hate Corbyn so much why don't you ask a right leaning person? If only you could find someone to ask….

        • McFlock

          … who could be relied upon to be truthful when they answer.

          • Incognito

            Someone who states that “views are reflective of the reality at this point in time” and that they are “just stating the truth of the matter” can be relied upon without question 😉

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          Why bother, when we can simply listen to you ad nauseam, Gosman.

        • Dean Reynolds

          OK Gosman, you're right wing, so tell us why you hate Corban & try to be objective – none of your foam flecked hysteria

  3. weka 3

    FT's Poll of Polls, in %

    Cons 43

    Lab 33

    LD 13

    SNP 4

    Green 3

    Brexit 3

    … political scientists and election forecasters generally believe that a Conservative polling lead of around 6 per cent over Labour is the dividing line between a Tory majority and a hung parliament.


    I can't get my head around the LD vote. They're won't support the Cons but that vote will give the Cons another term.

    Is this in part a protest vote from third wayers who can't handle Corbyn's pull left?

    • Gosman 3.1

      Why can't you get your head around the Lib Dem vote? If I was in the UK right now I would vote for the Lib-Dems because I can't stand Johnson and I despise Corbyn and all he stands for. I would prefer the UK had another referendum on Brexit but if that comes with a Corbyn led government that would be worse than a Conservative Brexit. 

      • Sanctuary 3.1.1

        When I talked about hopeless, angry and defeated boomers, this is exactly what I was talking about.

        An idiotic and splenetic bunch of Don Quixote types who would rather hate Corbyn than vote to lift children out of poverty or save the NHS. Get fucked.

        • Gosman

          Maybe they don't think Corbyn abnd his hard left mates WILL actually save the NHS or lift children out of poverty and will instead lead to the UK turning in to a version of Greece before the bailouts.

      • weka 3.1.2

        Lol Gosman, obviously I was referring to non-Tories, not Tories like yourself.

        • Gosman

          I just told you I wouldn't vote for the Conservatives if I was in the UK right now. When I lived there the two times I voted I voted for two different parties. I am exactly the person you are meaning.

  4. esoteric pineapples 4

    The problem for Labour is that rather than respecting the outcome of the Brexit referendum, it is proposing to hold another one.

    • weka 4.1

      Explain that one. More people would vote for Corbyn's left wing Labour if Labour supported Brexit?

      • Gosman 4.1.1

        The logic is the area of the country where Labour will lose this election (The Midlands and North of England) wouldn't abandon Labour if they supported Brexit. Of course the would bleed votes in the South however that might go to the Lib-Dems instead rather than the Conservatives. Ultimately Corbyn prevaricated on Brexit and as a result pleased neither side.

        • weka

          so the idea is that there's a solid core of people who would otherwise vote for a left wing Labour but won't this time because it might lead to a no brexit? This suggests a core of left wing brexiters. Is there research to support that such a group of voters exists? (enough to shift an election).

          • Gosman

            Why is the Labour party at risk of LOSING seats in the Midlands and the North of England Weka? Please explain the reasoning behind that.

            • weka

              I'm just asking for an explanation Gosman. Someone of your expertise on the UK political scene should be able to clarify.

              • Gosman

                It seems quite clear that there are really only two major reasons why Labour might be at risk of losing seats in traditional Labour supporting areas in the North of England and the Midlands.

                1. Dislike of Corbyn and his hard left policies.

                2. Desire to see Brexit completed and the belief that the Conservatives are the best party to do this.

                Do you happen to have another reason why Labour might be at risk in these areas?

                • weka

                  1. Dislike of Corbyn and his hard left policies.

                  Which left voters does that apply to? Where is their vote going?

                  2. Desire to see Brexit completed and the belief that the Conservatives are the best party to do this.

                  Again, who are the solid brexiters who normally vote Labour but won't this time?

          • Sanctuary

            IMHO, for the liberal establishment Labour's position on Brexit – which isn't that difficult to grasp – has been savagely attacked mainly as a fig leaf to preserve their liberal credentials whilst doing everything the can to destroy Corbyn and his project. Ditto for the "anti-semitism" row, a fantastical concoction of smears put together by a conspiracy of the Israeli government and it's corrupt friends in the UK establishment to bring down Corbyn, who poses a genuine threat to the veto Israel currently has on any sort of pro-Palestinian action from the major western powers.

          • Pierre

            There has always been working-class support for Brexit; people might not rally behind the criticism of the EU as a fundamentally neoliberal project, but they understand that austerity has hit communities hard, and when given a chance to express their discontent they vote accordingly. I'd be interested to see how Galloway does in West Brom, as he's running on a 'real Labour / left exit' platform.

            • Gosman

              What's the difference between what Galloway is running on and the position of Corbyn beyond Corbyn is neither for nor against Brexit (but everyone really knows he is for it)?

              • Pierre

                The difference is that Corbyn is subject to the democratic will of Labour Party members. Labour members voted to promise a second referendum as party policy, and Corbyn follows that policy regardless of his own personal opinion. Galloway meanwhile is accountable only to himself at this point, he can take whatever position he likes. At least I think the difference is clear.

            • mauī

              Ah George…wonderful, wonderful man… amazing human being.

    • Sanctuary 4.2

      The problem for Labour is they are desperately trying to hold onto to being a class based party when the entire media is intent on re-defining politics along culture war line, as in the USA. The purpose of course is to turn a substantial part of the working class against itself.

      • Gosman 4.2.1

        I was waiting for someone to blame the media

        • Sanctuary

          I assume (perhaps optimistically) you can read. I invite you to peruse the British press and draw your own conclusions.

          • Gosman

            I consume lots of UK media. It stretches across the political spectrum. If you want to find pro-Corbyn media there are lot's of it out there.

            • UncookedSelachimorpha

              But the overwhelming media view in the UK is biased against Corbyn. It makes a huge difference. Some examples:

              We set out to recognise and acknowledge the legitimate role of the press to critique and challenge the powers that be, which is often encapsulated by the metaphor of the watchdog. Our systematic content analysis of a representative sample of newspaper articles published in 8 national newspapers between 1 September and 1 November 2015, however, shows that the press reacted in a highly transgressive manner to the new leader of the opposition, hence our reference to the attackdog metaphor.

              Our analysis shows that Corbyn was thoroughly delegitimised as a political actor from the moment he became a prominent candidate and even more so after he was elected as party leader, with a strong mandate. This process of delegitimisation occurred in several ways: 1) through lack of or distortion of voice; 2) through ridicule, scorn and personal attacks; and 3) through association, mainly with terrorism.

              Our report found that 75% of press coverage misrepresents Jeremy Corbyn – we can't ignore media bias anymore

              The Media Is Biased Against Jeremy Corbyn – but Does That Even Matter in This Election?

              (note to self – don't waste time replying to Gosman..)

    • Molly 4.3

      There is a good transcript of one of Corbyn's speeches on the Labour website that outlines what it will do in regards to Brexit.  Worth the read.

      Of particular relevance is Corbyn's quote:

      "People sometimes accuse me of trying to talk to both sides at once in the Brexit debate; to people who voted leave and remain. You know what? They’re right.

      Why would I only want to talk to half the country? I don’t want to live in half a country. Anybody seeking to become Prime Minister must talk to and listen to the whole country.

      Labour stands not just for the 52% or the 48%, but for the 99%. It’s Labour that’s determined to bring a divided country together. You can’t do that if your whole political strategy is to turn one side of the Brexit debate against the other.

      The Tories are offering an extreme and damaging form of Brexit, while the Liberal Democrats want to ignore the result of the 2016 referendum and revoke Article 50. The Brexit crisis needs to be resolved but it must be done democratically."

      And regarding Brexit policy:

      "The Tories have failed on Brexit for three years. A Labour government will get Brexit sorted within six months by giving you, the British people, the final say. And despite what some commentators want you to believe, Labour’s plan for Brexit is clear and simple.

      It’s time to take the decision out of the hands of politicians and trust the people to decide. It won’t be a rerun of 2016. This time the choice will be between leaving with a sensible deal or remaining in the European Union.

      That’s the policy. It really isn’t complicated.

      So an incoming Labour government will first secure a sensible deal. That will take no longer than three months because the deal will be based on terms we’ve already discussed with the EU, including a new customs union, a close single market relationship and guarantees of rights and protections.

      It’s a deal that will protect British manufacturing and respect the precious peace in Northern Ireland.

      And then we’ll put that deal to a public vote. So if you want to leave the EU without trashing our economy or selling out our NHS, you’ll be able to vote for it. If you want to remain in the EU, you’ll be able to vote for that.

      Either way, only a Labour government will put the final decision in your hands. Because this has involved the whole country from the start, it can’t now be left to politicians.

      To finally get this sorted and move forward, we need the people to sign on the dotted line. And we will immediately carry out your decision, so Britain can get beyond Brexit."

      • Gosman 4.3.1

        And yet people still aren't flocking to him in sufficient numbers. Why is that if his position on Brexit is so logical and reasonable?

        • Molly

          I have no idea, Gosman – and I know don't why you would think I would have insight into what lies in the hearts and minds of British voters. (Interesting that the words ‘logical’ and ‘reasonable’ came from you in regards to Corbyn’s Brexit policy.)

          Perhaps like you, they vote according to their own bias, rather than considered thinking and reality?

  5. Sanctuary 5

    PS – I think the most likely outcome is another hung parliament and the collapse of the Lib-dems as a political force forever as Jo Swinson – a yellow Tory/Orange book liberal who comes across as an annoying head prefect from an Enid Blighton novel – props up a Boris Johnson conservative government in exchange for a cabinet post (assuming she keeps her seat, I hear the squirrels of Scotland are mobilising in force against her).

    • Gosman 5.1

      The Lib-Dems would never support another Conservative led government UNLESS they committed to a further referendum on Brexit. Johnson won't do that as it will be one betrayal too far.

      • Sanctuary 5.1.1

        Swinson is an idiot, and the Lib-Dems is now home to an extraordinarily hubristic collection of centrists and chancers. Don’t under estimate their stupidity.

        • Gosman

          The raisson-d'etre for the Lib-Dems now is purely to promote membership of the EU. You are trying to argue they will abandon that for what exactly? Just because they want to prop up a Conservative government to avoid Corbyn? Really???

          • Sanctuary

            Dude, I don't want to be rude but I am going to be. You clearly do not follow British politics particularly closely and you offer nothing valuable. So shut up.

            • Gosman

              LOL! I am pretty confident my knowledge of UK politics is better than yours. I don't blame the fact Corbyn is not getting enough traction on Israeli  (who have more pressing matters to worry about like the state of their own government).

          • Pierre

            Sanctuary is correct on this one, the Lib Dems haven't changed their tune, and they will happily prop up another Tory coalition just like that. Their councillors are already loyally supporting  the Tories in local government up and down the country. If anything the experience of the last decade should have been a lesson not to trust the Lib Dems.

    • weka 5.2

      What would constitute a hung parliament? What would happen next?

      • Gosman 5.2.1

        What happened in 2017 is a hung parliament. Even if the Opposition managed to cobble together a small majority it would still be regarded as hung. The idea that Labour would be able to introduce it's radical socialist policies without an outright majority would be laughable. 

        • Sanctuary

          "…The idea that Labour would be able to introduce it's radical socialist policies…"

          I would be fascinated to know what these radical policies are. Care to expand with examples?

          • Gosman

            Renationalisation of large parts of the British economy.

          • Gosman

            "Free" Broadband for everyone in the UK (If one policy highlighted Corbyn's fundamental issue with the UK electorate it is this one). 

            • weka

              It's hardly communism.

              • Gosman

                I stated Socialist not Communist

                • weka

                  "radical socialist policies"

                  Free internet fits within capitalism quite easily.

                  • Gosman

                    Umm… no it doesn't. It is a ridiculous Socialist idea that broadband is some sort of Social good like Water that should be free to everyone. Capitalism would put a price on it that reflects the supply and demand for the service.

                    • weka

                      the internet now holds such an important place in society that it is a social and economic necessity.

                      Capitalism doesn't put a price on internet services, it leaves it up the to the free market. Consequently there are people that are disadvantaged from taking part in civil society. The other way to manage that would be to increase wages and benefits.

                      I guess your version of capitalism doesn't care about citizens. In social democracies like ours it's normal to care.

                      Good to hear you think water should always be free though.

                    • Gosman

                      Amazing that Corbyn cares so much but his support is so low.

                    • weka []

                      not that low, but not particularly surprising. 35 years of neoliberalism has taught a lot of people to be selfish.

                    • Gosman

                      Why didn't 34 years of State driven development prior to 1979 not lead to a society that was anti-Thatcherism then?

                    • weka []

                      because unlike neoliberalism/Thatcherism it wasn’t intentional social engineering?

                    • Gosman

                      Really??? I'm pretty sure the concept of the NHS has been well and truly ingrained in to the mainstream British psyche.

        • weka

          "What happened in 2017 is a hung parliament"

          Why was that result hung though? Because there were enough left wing parties to vote against the Cons on their own?

          • Pierre

            It was a hung parliament because there was no simple majority. The Tories had the authority to form a government in 2017 because they came out as the single largest party, technically won the most votes, and… because the British state favours the Tories.

            • weka

              By majority do you mean 50% of the vote?

              • Pierre

                50% of the seats in parliament

                • weka

                  ok, so a hung parliament doesn't mean much unless other parties can form a coalition to achieve 50% (seats).

                  Who has first crack at doing that? The party with the most seats?

                • weka

                  and in this case, the LDs are irrelevant (not willing for form govt with either L or C). So it comes down to L/SNP/G vs Cons/Brexit/DUP? Doesn't that make it closer election than is being predicted?

                  • Gosman

                    Ummm… why are the Lib-Dem's irrelevant? If they hold the balance of power neither UK Labour or the Conservatives will be able to get policies through that they disagree with.

                    • weka

                      Irrelevant to formation of government (assuming they've ruled out both L and C).

                    • Gosman

                      It is not irrelevant if the Lib-Dems and whatever other parties are in opposition have enough votes to stop any policies being implemented. You will just have a continuation of the problems the UK faced prior to the election.

                    • weka []

                      if the LDs won’t support Labour or the Cons to form govt, what role do they play in the formation of govt?

                    • Gosman

                      You are aware that unless a party leader can guarantee they will have support on confidence and supply matters it makes forming a government almost impossible. This is especially so under the fixed term parliaments act as the PM can't just dissolve Parliament whenever they want and try to increase his mandate. They are effectively hostage to the opposition in such circumstances.

                    • weka []

                      Yes I am aware of that Gosman. What I am asking is what role LDs might play in formation of govt at this election given they have said they won’t form govt with the Cons or Labour. I suggested they were irrelevant, you said they are relevant and I’m asking you how they are relevant. Do you think they will change their minds and support one of the parties?

                    • Gosman

                      They are relevant because unless the government can guarantee they have enough votes to get funding legislation passed they aren't going to be much of a government are they? If Corbyn forms a government with the SNP and Greens as some here suggest (and possibly even Plaid Cymr)  but the DUP, Conservatives, and Lib Dems decide to vote against tax increases how will Corbyn be able to get the money to spend on all the additional things he want to spend money on?

                    • weka []

                      If Corbyn forms a government with the SNP and Greens next week, what role would the LDs play in that? Not later on specific legislation, but at the time of negotiations and formation of govt.

                    • weka []

                      it’s not a trick question, I’m trying to understand. I though the LDs said they wouldn’t form govt with Labour. So how would this work? C and S agreement with Labour?

  6. At the risk of repeating myself – Labour by a landslide (well, a moderate tidal swell anyway) – enough for them to form a government with co-operation with the SNP and the Greens.

    • Sanctuary 6.1

      The outcome depends on two things – the turnout of youth voters (if there is a youthquake, then Labour might sneak in) and the if Labour can hang onto in the North.

      Given the partisan nature of the British press, I don't know the state of play. I know momentum has mobilised a huge ground game for Labour and there was a huge surge in young people registering to vote. On the other hand, polling indicates the older white English boomers are even more determined to tun out and to try and deliver a no deal Brexit this time.


      My heart says a Labour win on the back of a big turnout of minorities and youth.

      • Gosman 6.1.1

        The UK press is incredibly diverse and vibrant. If you want to fund a major newspaper that broadly reflects your political leaning you can and the broadcast media is generally middle of the road. The BBC have a specific remit to try and ensure balance in reporting. I don't see on what basis you can claim the media is at fault for the failure of Corbyn to get more support than he has.  

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          More misleading stuff from Gosman – are they simply incredibly poorly informed?

          " The UK press is incredibly diverse and vibrant "

          In fact:

          New Report: Who Owns the UK Media in 2019?

          just three companies (News UK, Daily Mail Group and Reach) dominate 83% of the national newspaper market (up from 71% in 2015). When online readers are included, just five companies (News UK, Daily Mail Group, Reach, Guardian and Telegraph) dominate nearly 80% of the market, slightly up from our last report.

          and 5 billionaires own 80% of the UK media

          Just 5 men- including 2 brothers- own 80% of the UK media, new statistics show. The 5 men also own not only the newspapers but also 80% of the TV stations, press agencies, book companies and cinemas in the UK.

          • Gosman

            LOL! Ummm…. Name me a political view not represented in the mainstream newspapers in the UK. The Guardian and The Mirror are left wing. The Evening Standard and the Independent is middle of the road, The Times and Daily Telegraph are center Right. The Daily Mail and Daily Express are right wing. Which views are being denied a mainstream outlet?

            • KJT

              "Guardian is left wing".

              I wish.


              The organ for chardonnay socialists who want to clear their conscience, but don't make any changes, thanks.

        • Sanctuary

          "…The UK press is incredibly diverse and vibrant…"

          LOL  Just two individuals – Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere – control 52% of online and print national news publications in the UK. 

          12% of the UK's population attended a private or grammar school and 1% of the UK population has attended Oxford or Cambridge.

          But five out six of the BBC's chief political reporters went to Oxford or Cambridge, and the one that didn't (Laura Kuenssberg) is also card carrying member of the British elite, and is a personal chum of Boris.

          68% of newspaper columnists went to a private or grammar school, 63% of the most influential news media figures and 49% of BBC executives. 44% of newspaper columnists have Oxbridge backgrounds, as do 36% of the most influential media figures and 31% of BBC executives. 

          The UK media is dominated by the voices of the 1%.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          Sheesh. and then Gosman says " The BBC have a specific remit to try and ensure balance in reporting "

          Meanwhile on planet earth:

          University of London study

          We concluded that some BBC coverage does demonstrate bias and partiality against Corbyn in subtle modes where tone alters the meaning of the script and visuals and the BBC fared badly compared to other mainstream TV news.


          In its election coverage, the BBC has let down the people who believe in it

          The corporation, admired around the world, has been behaving in a way that favours the Tories

          • Gosman

            That's an opinion piece by some lefty. If you had bothered to watch the Andrew Marr interview with Boris Johnson he was challenged on all those points. Other than that what are you expecting the BBC to do? 

            • Incognito

              Is this “an opinion piece by some lefty”?


              • Gosman

                Ummm…pretty much.


                Here's an extract by one of the author's of that study Dr Paul Lashmar on another one of his studies:


                "Instead I use the critical-realist approach where data is gathered and analysed where possible, but analysis is also based on interpretation through experience. Within the critical realism tradition it is permitable to consider what one observes as reality providing one’s own subjectivity is clear set out. I recognise that my world-view was formed primarily within a particular journalism culture and includes intimations of my pluralist, left leaning, liberal and secularist opinions"

                • Incognito

                  Well, well, well. It seems “some lefty” now has a name and even an academic degree and states that he’s using the critical-realist approach to data collection and analysis. BTW, the article had two authors.

                  Thus, you decided to fob off UncookedSelachimorpha without even bother to read the link because of the author’s left leaning opinions [your bold]?

                  In other words, you only mention stuff that only confirms your own opinions and you refuse and ignore everything else? Because your “views are reflective of the reality at this point in time”? How would you know?

                  Using the critical-realist approach to your comments here I conclude that you are not interested in genuine debate but only in parroting Tory talking points and echoing RW sentiments that have no other underpinning than that they resonate with that flimsy membrane you deem to be your brain and makes these weird flatulating noises.

        • Cinny

          Gossy…….  the majority of British tabloids are conservative, that's a fact.  Unfortunately the perception of bias is no longer limited to the papers, it has bled into the broadcast sector, including the BBC.

          Bojo was asked whether truth mattered, during a recent BBC interview and the audience laughed at him.  The BBC edited out the laughter replacing it by applause before airing.


    • Gosman 6.2

      Care for a wager?

      • I'm not a betting man – that's just a mug's game.


        But my opinion is based on very scientific evidence – who I'd vote for if I was resident in the UK now. And I'm a boomer.


        Christ – another 5 years of Boris/Tories!! It doesn't bear thinking about.

    • Wayne 6.3

      Quite possible, at least the SNP part. The Greens will get hardly any seats. More likely the LD will be the other part of the government. Won’t be a landslide or anything like that but the combo might be enough to form a government.

      • weka 6.3.1

        I thought LDs has said they won't support a Labour govt.

        • Gosman

          With Corbyn as leader. If Labour got rid of him there may be a chance.

        • Wayne

          Yes, I am aware of Swinson’s statement. Actually I suppose she could either way. 

          But I has assumed because of the LD view on Brexit, they would ultimately prefer Labour.

          • weka

            Do you think LDs might well support formation of govt then?

            • Wayne

              Yes, I do.

              If it comes to it, the LD’s will support the formation of a government. After all, some combination of parties has to be able to form a government. Otherwise there would be a new election.

              I think the decisive issue for the LD is Brexit (or rather stopping it). They will go for a referendum which means Labour.

              Part of the price of going with Labour will be stopping Corbyn’s full scale socialism. Obviously Labour will still be substantial reformers but not to the extent that Corbyn wants.

              The renewal of Trident will also be gone. Neither the SNP or LD want it, also the left part of Labour including Corbyn are against it. I imagine the UK will still be part of NATO. It is possible that if Trident goes then the conventional forces of the UK might actually increase, in particular some more naval ships (frigates) which will be good for Scottish and North East jobs.




              • weka

                thanks Wayne.

                Do you think LD saying no support for Labour was just electioneering, or that the position was overstated by others? Looking now it seems clearer that they would in fact support Labour.

                Are LD the Winston Peters of UK politics/

  7. Bill 7

    From a trusted poster on my facebook feed this morning (they reside in NZ)

    Apparently posting anything about Jeremy Corban is against Facebooks community standards. I have had three notifications just today about it and they were all that.

    People can make of that as they will. Like I say – the source is one I trust.

    That aside, I'll freely admit to a degree of anxiety around the demise of Momentum under the idiotic top down management style imposed by Jon Lansman after the last election. They seem to be AWOL this time around.

    In summary, I don't view this UK election as necessarily being a reflection of peoples wants and desires, but rather an indication of how successful pop media are at bending the public will to serve their own preferred agenda.

    By way of a throw away indicative example – when UK Labour were subjected to two hacking attempts a week or so back, there was "nothing to see" according to pop media. In contrast, a fair amount of focus coming off the back of the NHS document has been to suggest nefarious Russian interference. To hell with the authenticity of the document – that's secondary. Labour is Putin's project.

    You can see how that fits with the general thrust of pop media, yes? How it might stack on top of all the other negative pop narratives to suggest people with a more casual take on politics think twice before voting Labour?

    That said, 'no-one' bar red/blue tribalists pay much of any heed to pop media these days. So any influence pop media may have had in the past in much diminished these days.

    But the gaming of social media platforms to 'blank' the left (it's been happening on youtube for quite a while now) – that's a worry. That's influential.

    • Gosman 7.1

      Do you really think people aren't supporting Labour because they think they received some document about the NHS via a Russian hacking attempt?

    • Gosman 7.2

      And this idea that YouTube and Facebook are working against the Labour party is bordering on the paranoid. 


      • Bill 7.2.1

        Do you write down a sentence with the spaces where the nouns should be left blank? And then do you dip into a 'bag of random' to determine what nouns you'll put in those blank spaces?

        Do you then have a second bag full of random assertions that you replace the original text around the blank spaces with?

        Reads like it.

        • Incognito

          Gosman types faster than he thinks. So far, 37 out of 91 comments under this post are his.

          Maybe time to put the handbrake on …

          • arkie

            Bold to assume there is any thought involved, especially when this 'thought' is sprayed so widely but spread so thin. 

            • Incognito

              I was trying to be generous. Hill test coming soon to test the brakes. I hope Gosman’s tyres and shocks are up to it 😉

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            And so much of what he says is simply fact-free nonsense.

            • Incognito

              Sadly, true and so many here get sucked in by his comments and wasting time replying without realising he’s taking them down the garden path into his rabbit hole of manipulative nonsense and pseudo-knowledgeable Gobbledygook.

          • Siobhan

            Thanks for that..I was about to do a count myself…tho to be fair…Gosman is one of the few to absolutely bloom on this site…far more thoughtful reasoned folk have been destroyed by the very same moderators who are more than happy to engage with Gosman.

            Some days, where it not for the Gosman, this site would be the most deserted of playgrounds..

            • Incognito

              I don’t like it when people let their pets shit in children’s playgrounds.

              I don’t follow the part about “the very same moderators” destroying “far more thoughtful reasoned folk”. I don’t assume you want to elaborate?

            • francesca

              I've had a moderator rushing out at me like an insane rat on crack.

              Doesn't do the site a lot of credibility.

              And like the wider world, positions have become incredibly polarised, not much space for discussion before the insults come rolling in , destroying any true debate

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          Maybe it's a Bot! Reads like one.
          (sorry if this counts as ‘speculating as to a poster’s identity’)

          • Gosman

            Except my views are reflective of the reality at this point in time. Corbyn has not got enough support according to ALL the opinion polls to form a government on his own. He is also not close enough to form it with the help of the majority of the opposition parties. The indication is that the Labour party is in danger of losing ground in traditional Labour supporting areas in the North of England and Midlands. It may make up some gains elsewhere but it is unlikely to be enough. It would take a minor political miracle to turn it around. It is possible of course but Corbyn is not getting the cut through he was getting in 2017. What part of that analysis do you disagree with and why?

  8. pat 8

    can they do it?…we'll know in 4 days

  9. mosa 9

    Campaigners for second referendum urge voters to ‘hold their noses’ and back second choice to stop hard Brexit.

    I don't think it can be underestimated how much BREXIT plays in this election.

    Johnson's whole campaign is based around it while Corbyn has tried too keep the focus on the evil effects of neo liberal policies and austerity but cannot get traction for what needs too be done.

    Neither candidate for PM inspires or grabs the public's desire for strength and confidence.

    Another Tory led government will not address the deepening social damage of the ongoing suffocation of poverty and misery that engenders.

    Sadly unless there is a massive shift in the next few days this election will not deliver the watershed result that is needed too enact Labours priorities.

    2017 and the 2019 elections have not been about the human cost of Tory – Lib Dem austerity policies but the inability too divorce from the E.U.

    The possibility of another hung parliament is possible as many are feeling aggrieved  enough too vote tactically on Thursday.


    • Gosman 9.1

      Why didn't Labour promise to respect the will of the referendum and get a better Brexit done ASAP then? Why this prevarication over the issue by promising to hold another  referendum? 

      • mosa 9.1.1

        It has been a massive divisive issue and has split both main parties.

        I agree the response and position has been far from perfect and i don't think for one minute anyone thought they would leave but they have.


      • Chris 9.1.2

        Because Labour knows the referendum was a sham and doesn't reflect the will of the…'referendum'.

      • Psycho Milt 9.1.3

        Why didn't Labour promise to respect the will of the referendum and get a better Brexit done ASAP then? 

        Because a referendum isn't a stone tablet handed down by Almighty God to his prophet here on Earth. There's a big question mark over whether a majority of the UK voters want to leave the EU unconditionally, or whether the nature of the leave agreement affects their enthusiasm. That's one of the many problems with referenda.  

        Why this prevarication over the issue by promising to hold another  referendum? 

        Because the question of whether a majority of voters want to leave the EU with these conditions attached is one that needs answering – and if it doesn't need answering, neither did the question in the original referendum.  

  10. That_guy 10

    Basically what this is showing is that lies and dirty tricks work, because they disgust a small chunk of the population who were never going to vote for you anyway, but fool a lot of people in small subtle ways. It's a numbers game.

    Facebook not fact-checking politicians means you can say what you want. Even when you are caught out, it's pointless because the damage is done.

    This statement was verified as true by @factcheckUK!


  11. millsy 11

    No. UK Labour can't. This isn't an election. This is a massacre. Even Old Labour stalwart Dennis Skinner is forecast to lose his seat.


  12. greywarshark 12

    Al Jazeera doing a sympathetic piece about a little town once a dockyard, where everything seems downward.

    by David Child 8/12/2019

    Almost 10 years on from the beginnings of austerity, Chatham and the rest of the UK is readying to have its say in a general election – its fourth this decade.

    But the anger and frustration felt by Maple and others in the town over the policy is at risk of being drowned out.

    Despite pledges from the Conservative Party that "austerity is over" and promises from the Labour Party to radically shake up the UK economy, as polling day nears, Brexit has once more cannibalised almost every other talking point in the national political conversation.

    The noise surrounding the UK's long-running drama over its bid to depart the European Union is hard to break through, says Maple, whose bid to unseat incumbent Conservative Member of Parliament Tracey Crouch is anticipated to be a bellwether for which way the election will go.

    I think that the UK people are numb and Brexit is the only conversation, whoever promises better support for the NHS will carry the day possibly.

  13. pat 14

    "As British voters cast their ballots on December 12 they will be doing so in the most important election since 1979, but this is not because the ramifications of a possible Brexit have such profound consequences. Rather, it is because this is possibly the last chance to stop the project that started with Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1979 and set the UK on its current course of dismantling the last pieces of welfarism and any remnants of the post-war consensus that still exist."



  14. Sanctuary 15

    Ah, the unbiased BBC, part of Gosman's "vibrant" media…

    Laura Kuenssberg (chief political reporter for the BBC and a total blue blood) this morning uncritically tweeted as fact a Tory accusation that a Labour activist "punched" a Tory party adviser outside Leeds hospital. 

    She (much) later tweeted again, saying it looked like the adviser merely brushed past the arm of a protesting activist.

    Meanwhile, the fake news that a Labour activist punched a Tory advisor is being blared as the main headline from every right wing morning paper in the UK.

    To sum up – three days out from a general election the chief political reporter of the BBC, who happens to be a personal friend of Boris Johnson, tweeted Tory propaganda – a damaging false accusation against Labour that was a lie – that was then used to lead the morning right wing papers.

    You couldn't make this shit up.

    Kuenssberg is an arrogant bitch, so she'll refuse to apologise and do her usual spiel about being a victim. Oh and continue to collect her huge salary.

    • Gosman 15.1

      Ummm…. Tweets from BBC reporters are not the same as a usual broadcast. I challenge you to watch the Andrew Marr show or an Andrew Neil interview and then tell me the BBC is bias.

    • Gosman 15.2

      As for the story being the main headline it is not mentioned anywhere on the BBC website front page that I can see


    • Gosman 15.3

      The Daily Mail (no pro-Labour newspaper i am sure you will agree) has leadwith the story but has pointed out that THERE WAS NO PUNCH UP.


      "However, a video of the incident then emerged which showed Mr Njoku-Goodwin had been accidentally struck by the protestor's hand as the latter pointed and both men were looking in different directions. "

      Noone is deliberately making up stuff here. It seems like a fast developing story was circulated without first verifying the facts. That happens on both sides of the political spectrum.

  15. Sanctuary 16

    "… It seems like a fast developing story was circulated without first verifying the facts…"


    A ridiculous comment letting off  clear pro-Tory bias –  akin to saying Tomás de Torquemada was often at the scene of tragic fires.

    • Gosman 16.1

      The British have a Broadcasting standards authority. If there is a massive concern then people can raise it. I don't see the leadership of the UK Labour party complaining though. 

      Also why is this any different to an ITV reporter shoving a picture of a kid in an emergency waiting room demanding Boris Johnson look at it? That to me was an example of frankly ridiculous and extremely biased reporting.

      • The Al1en 16.1.1

        The matter of the tory press is a herring, a blue herring if you will, and one that is an easy scapegoat to avoid the fact the UK labour party are somewhat unelectable in it's current guise.

        First you have to accept the influence of the papers is steadily declining with circulation consistently falling.


        Then you have to accept those who still read the dailies are obviously quite free to disseminate the news and vote as they choose outside of an editorial position.

        Then finally you'll realise that like in NZ, despite an apparent very right leaning media, given the correct leadership, it's quite possible to get a labour led government.

  16. James 17

    Can labour win ?  Of course. 
    Can labour win with Jeremy Corbyn?  not a chance. 

    ive said from the outset he is unelectable and he has only gotten worse. 

    boris will win a majority and given a clear mandate to  deliver brexit. 


    • Gosman 17.1

      Yes, many leftists can't accept that Corbyn is not well liked by many, many people who might be tempted to vote for Labour if he was not the leader. He represents the sort of sanctimonious double standards of some people on the left which drives some people barmy.

    • Incognito 17.2

      … and they lived happily ever after.

      The End.

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