This image tells us everything we need to know about the first Labour leader debate

This Writer spent the early party of yesterday evening (August 4) trying to find a reliable broadcast of the Labour leadership debate (the live stream on the Labour website went down after only a few minutes but the BBC News channel saved the day) and tweeting about it.

I was, therefore, sick of the whole thing by the end.

Fortunately, here’s Steve Walker with a quick appraisal from his blog, leading with the fantasy claim that Owen Smith ‘won’ the debate.

Let me know if you want a deeper analysis and I’ll see what I can do. There’s certainly enough information available.

Supporters of Owen Smith are claiming that he ‘won’ tonight’s Labour leadership debate with Jeremy Corbyn.

Smith looked shiny with sweat and red-faced tonight as he tried to appear passionate and convincing. Corbyn appeared calm and cool – some would say statesmanlike, while his opponents would claim his less declamatory style isn’t what they would call ‘leadership’.

I’ll let a picture speak for who’s more compelling, leaderly and ‘electable’:

160805 ovation

Source: According to Owen Smith’s supporters, he ‘won’ tonight’s leadership debate | The SKWAWKBOX Blog


Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


29 thoughts on “This image tells us everything we need to know about the first Labour leader debate

  1. Rusty

    Owen smith won nothing, he said we need unity while causing a split in the PLP! What a lier.

  2. John

    I thought it was hugely entertaining actually! Loved the line from Owen about not being a ‘Blairite’ and part of the coup (sorry, I know I’m not supposed to use that word, promise I won’t do it again!). The boos and cheers were brilliant. Certainly a very lively audience!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It will be interesting to see if future crowds are as lively. If they aren’t, I suspect Labour Party organisers may have stamped down on this behaviour – indicative though it is.

      1. John

        I can’t see them being able to completely stamp it out though. Some people have very strong emotions about matters like this, and very understandably too!

  3. kevinarmes

    Hi Mike,
    Just a comment, but has anyone else commented that your font seems to have changed and now your blog is quite difficult to read? Text is now very tightly spaced, quite pale and seems to be about 10 points in size. Were you aware or is it something my end that’s changed? Cheers, Kevin

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Yes they have, but I haven’t done anything to change it. I think a previous commenter suggested pressing CTRL+0 to make it change back.

  4. Flook the Magnificent

    Outside, in the real world, the situation is reversed. Corbyn IS wildly popular amongst Labour members but the opposite is true amongst the general voting demographic.So if you want a Labour leader beloved by a majority of his footsoldiers, disliked by his officers, ignored in large part by the populace and so unable to win a general election carry on as is. Otherwise think again..

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I want a Labour leader who says what he means and follows through on that – not one who says what he thinks people want to hear and is likely to do whatever he wants (whether he promised it or not) once installed in office, as I think Smith is likely to do.
      You say Corbyn isn’t popular amongst general voters. Why is that, do you think? Could it possibly be because he’s had members of his own party briefing against him since last September, and members of his own shadow cabinet actively trying to sabotage him for the same length of time – not because there’s anything wrong with his policies but because they personally disagree with traditional Labour values and would prefer Tory-style neoliberalism?

    2. Vince Mccabe

      Well my dear commentator, since you appear to know so much more than we do, why don’t you enlighten us a little further, but this time supply the evidence to back up your spurious claims. I don’t require news articles from the right wing press, since of course they are complete nonsense and have already been disproven by the LSE, I require hard facts, and the ability to cross check your material. From an academic perspective, the ball is now in your court, but be warned; I don’t suffer fools gladly and I already have substantive academic research to back up my own thesis, which is in total opposition to the opinion you are currently wasting our time with. Bring your evidence to the table, and allow others to peer review it. If, on the other hand you don’t have any, which is what I suspect, then cite your posts as an opinion only, that way we can all understand that you are casting an opinion, not stating a fact. And since your opinion is overwhelmingly at odds with all of the current academic research, perhaps it is time you did a little research of your own, before making such an uninformed comment in the first place?

    3. John

      I haven’t seen all of the local council election results, but I do know that most of them have gone to Labour. But why? I think I’ve seen a fair few where it’s been LAB up and CONs down. In some cases, the LAB increases have been quite staggering!
      So what’s happening there? Are the CONs transferring to LAB? Where have the LAB increases come from? New members? Transfers(from other parties)?
      If Corbyn was really so bad, why has Lab membership increased?
      I’m sure I don’t need to continue with this Flook, can you see where I’m going?

  5. Phil Woodford

    The picture says that a hustings for the Labour Party leadership had more Corbynistas in attendance than Smith supporters. Only a fool would claim that this meant anything in terms of electability in the wider world.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      And does that not indicate that there are more Corbyn supporters than Smith-ites?
      (That’s a rubbish derogatory nickname, isn’t it? Let’s call them Owenites and risk them being confused with supporters of David Owen, if such a creature still exists.))

    2. Vic Curtis

      If you argue the result was due to the disparity in the number of supporters in the audience, then doesn’t that suggest Smith had lost before the event even started as he was unable to attract enough people who agree with him?

    3. John

      Phil, with the greatest of respect, I feel you might be suffering from a case of what I’ll call ‘denial’ syndrome. You’ve got to ask yourself the question of WHY were there clearly more people there for the Corbyn camp, than there was for the Smith camp?
      Barring cases of e.g. people that couldn’t attend due to being at work, or family committments, or other reasonable ‘excuses’, given the fact that it doesn’t look like there was any sort of audience selection procedure for balance reasons (otherwise you might have expected a roughly balanced audience), I reckon it would be reasonable to suggest that that audience WAS representative of popularity.
      Just to double-check my reasoning, Mike, would you roughly agree with that??

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I think that a candidate who doesn’t have as many supporters nationally as their opponent would do all they could to fill a televised debate’s audience with as many of their supporters as possible, in order to at least create an illusion of popularity.
        This did not happen on Thursday.
        I think we can all draw natural conclusions from that.

  6. Joan Edington

    I saw this on The Canary. Did the web site conveniently go down just after Corbyn asked Smith why he resigned if he was so keen on party unity? No doubt who won in my mind.

  7. hellsbells46

    If you managed to watch the whole thing you did better than me. Normal Owen gave me a headache and a terrible case of torrettes. Had to keep dipping in and out.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Yeah – Mrs Mike had the same problem. I was too busy tweeting about it to swear. Besides, you all know that I don’t use profanity!

  8. hayfords

    The difference in response to the candidates, is just about how many activists were there from the two camps. Corbyn is almost certainly going to win the leadership, but it doesn’t solve Labour’s problems.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I think you’re right – but so am I. The number of Corbyn supporters is indicative of his support in the wider Labour Party.
      You’re also right about Labour’s problems, which are organisational rather than based on policy. A wise future leader will be taking notes and preparing plans to deal with these issues, post-September 24.

  9. Christopher Campbell

    The ovation snaps convince me. One would to be very partial to give Smith the verdict … Corbyn the clear victor!

  10. Jane Owens

    Where the gusts of wind blow most favourably, Owen Smith will place himself in readiness to be carried along on the breeze. All the while, unburdened by conviction and principle.

  11. suefewuk

    Labour List had a cut version… It cuts when Smith confirms he was in a cabinet meeting when McDonnell when they were outlining his economic plan: the one he stole and denied McDonnell had. It comes back on when they are discussing Trident 🙂

Comments are closed.