Yes, Labour should analyse its loss in Copeland – but also its victory in Stoke. And get rid of the backstabbers

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said a re-examination of his party’s entire direction was needed. He would oversee a meltdown in England, worse than we saw in Scotland in 2015 [Image: Mark Runnacles/PA].

Here’s more drivel from the Labour right-wing, and the media are lapping it up.

There is nothing wrong with ordering an analysis of Labour’s defeat in Copeland. The result could be surprising – what would have happened if a third of the rural polling stations hadn’t been suffering power cuts due to Storm Doris, as has been mentioned?

But this will be meaningless without understanding why Labour won in Stoke-on-Trent Central.

Reading the Guardian article, did you notice how Stoke Central has magically transformed itself into a “rock-solid” Labour seat, instantly depriving Jeremy Corbyn (and Gareth Snell) of any credit for the victory against the Tories and UKIP. And let’s not forget that UKIP’s leader, Paul Nuttall, had put himself up for election in Stoke. His defeat is a huge symbolic blow to the Eurosceptic party.

Only on September 18, The Graun was describing Stoke Central as “especially unpredictable because of the expected very low turnout”; on September 6, Graun stalwart Polly Toynbee wrote, “No one sensible would call this unpredictable byelection”. What changed? Oh yes – Labour won.

But the plan was still to attack Jeremy Corbyn, no matter what. Labour supporters were predicting a swing in media coverage to deprive the Labour leader of any credit for a victory and we were right.

And what about UKIP? In the same article, Ms Toynbee wrote: “For Ukip the stakes could not be higher. Lose here and the party is well and truly dead: its new leader, and its candidate here, Paul Nuttall buried on his first outing.”

But nobody is campaigning for Mr Nuttall to resign. He and his party seem to have been given a free pass for failure.

Meanwhile, in Labour, we hear criticism from senior figures who should know when to keep their mouths shut.

Is Tom Watson still running the so-called Project Anaconda, that would see him “isolating and weakening” Mr Corbyn and ultimately “crushing the life out of his leadership”, according to internal party emails seen by the Huffington Post?

With no evidence to the contrary, we’ll have to consider his latest words to be evidence that he is.

Oh, and we’re nearly two years into a Tory government, by the way – not seven. From 2010 to 2015 we had a Coalition government. Let’s not forget the Liberal Democrat role in the UK’s current woes.

He is right to refer to the party’s self-destruction in Scotland, but we should all notice that he has drawn the wrong conclusions.

Scottish voters abandoned Labour because they considered it to have become a pale imitation of the Conservative Party, rather than representing the real needs of the people.

Watson is right that Labour cannot afford to see that happen in England, but it is right-wing members like him who are doing their best to ensure that it does, by calling for a policy shift back toward the direction that lost Scotland.

All this is clear – but just you watch Watson, Starmer, Coyne and the rest try to spin it. No wonder voters are confused.

The best option for Labour? No question: Remove Watson. Sack Starmer, if he can’t do his job without attacking his boss. Reject Coyne.

They are the problem, not the solution. Let us see how Mr Corbyn manages without the huge drag factor they represent.

But – yes – by all means hold an inquiry into Labour’s performance – at both by-elections.

And make sure it is fair.

Senior Labour figures have demanded that Jeremy Corbyn orders a full postmortem on the party’s byelection humiliation in Copeland – amid fears that it could spark a meltdown in England comparable to Labour’s 2015 annihilation in Scotland.

Deputy leader Tom Watson and Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer both delivered pointed criticism of Corbyn for his refusal to take any blame for the loss of the Labour stronghold, saying it was time for the leadership to undertake a thorough re-examination of the party’s entire direction.

Pressure on Corbyn mounted further as Gerard Coyne, who is challenging Corbyn’s close ally Len McCluskey for the leadership of the super-union Unite, weighed in. Coyne suggested in an interview with the Observer that the union was wasting its money backing a party led by Corbyn.

Corbyn admitted to disappointment at the [Copeland]result but took comfort from Labour retaining the rock-solid seat of Stoke-on-Trent Central in the face of a challenge from Ukip. Asked if he should look in the mirror and blame himself for the Copeland debacle, the Labour leader merely said, “No.”

Watson said he was “hugely disappointed” with a result that meant “that all of us with leadership roles need to have a long, hard look at ourselves and ask what’s not working. Seven years into a Tory government, we shouldn’t be facing questions about whether we can hold the seats we already hold.”

Referring to the party’s virtual wipe-out north of the border, he said: “Here in Scotland, you’ve seen what happens when Labour’s long-term supporters stop voting Labour. We can’t afford to have that happen in England, too. This is not the time for a leadership election. That issue was settled last year. But we have to do better. We cannot sustain this level of distance from the electorate, from our natural supporters.”

Source: Corbyn told: take blame for Copeland byelection flop or we face disaster | Politics | The Guardian

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.

The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

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:


3 thoughts on “Yes, Labour should analyse its loss in Copeland – but also its victory in Stoke. And get rid of the backstabbers

  1. Terry Jager

    This is becoming simpler to predict as each by-election comes up = Field a right wing anti corbyn candidate and lose or Field a non right wing Labour candidate and win . I wonder if Mr Sadiq Khan would have won the London mayoral election without Mr corbyn’s support ?

  2. NMac

    The result in Stoke restores my faith in the British electorate. I dreaded the thought that such a thoroughly dishonest and blatant liar such as Nuttall would be elected, who was clearly shown up to be an extremely odious character in every way.

    It would have been interesting to see what the result in Copeland would have been if the weather had not been so disruptive and the local Labour Party had been allowed to field their preferred candidate.

  3. Signor tbf


    Did you see one-half of the leadership (no prizes for guessing which half) campaigning in either seat?

    And if we are to have a proper inquest, maybe the NEC will use the compliance unit to ensure people with Gillian Troughton’s sort of record on Twitter never get near candidate status: there’s a difference between supporting a candidate in the leadership ballot by singing their choice’s praises & positively underscoring their ideas, as I did with Jeremy, and trashing the other candidate, which I resolutely refused to do & still would.

    How were the people of Copeland supposed to view her efforts on Jeremy?


Comments are closed.