Tag Archives: poll

Distraction tactics: why pay attention to all this right-wing fiddling while your country burns?

Jeremy Corbyn: it’s nice that a Twitter poll has rated him the best prime minister the UK never had, but the PM that we’ve got is turning the UK into a major disaster and this stuff is nothing more than an attempt to distract you. Did it work?

We all know bank holiday Mondays are where the news goes to die but August 2020 was particularly bad.

Judging by Twitter, the event that caught everybody’s imagination was a poll by right-wing Times Radio that resulted in a nobody presenter – This Writer has never heard of him – having to declare that Jeremy Corbyn is the best prime minister the UK never had.

(It means he would have been a better choice, not only than Boris Johnson or Theresa May, but better than many others as well – according to those who took part in the poll.)

Certain right-whingers immediately took it upon themselves to alleged – without any factual basis – that Corbynista Twitter users had ganged up to rig the poll.

Who cares?

It doesn’t matter. We didn’t get Corbyn. We got Theresa May in 2017 and Boris Johnson now – partly because Labour apparatchiks conspired to bugger up Corbyn’s campaigns on one or both occasions, if you believe a certain report (I do).

And it diverts attention from the failures of the government we have – especially at a time when Parliament is about to resume sitting after the summer recess.

The Guardian‘s editorial has identified a few of the political crises from which the poll has diverted our attention. For example:

Rishi Sunak is determined to end his Job Retention Scheme – the furlough to you and me – at the end of October, triggering a huge wave of unemployment. That’s right, even more people are about to learn what Universal Credit is all about – and they’re not going to like it.

He’s facing an annual national deficit that will have grown to twice the amount faced by Gordon Brown’s Labour government during the so-called “great recession” of 2008 or thereabouts. His party made a lot of mileage out of criticising Labour’s handling of that recession, slithering back into office by claiming it would end deficit spending and cut the national debt as well (instead the Tories more than doubled the debt to £2 trillion).

And in November Sunak has to produce a budget that will boost the economy and return the national finances to some semblance of balance (fat chance! He’s already facing a backbench rebellion on his mooted plans for tax rises).

Nobody’s going back to work because they don’t trust the government’s proclamations that it is safe from Covid-19. Nobody is likely to go back to universities for the same reason. The only people likely to want to go back to school are the kids – and that’s because they’re probably a bit bored by now and want to see their buddies again.

The Johnson government’s determination to push through Brexit as planned by December 31 means the party that pledged to end the scourge of “red tape” is more likely to throttle us with it, as businesses have to deal with an avalanche of pointless bureaucracy.

These are all problems that the Tories have created for the rest of us, either by incompetence or by design, since they first came back into power in 2010 – and most particularly since Boris Johnson became prime minister last year.

You need to be thinking about that, but instead you’re being seduced into thinking about a dopey Twitter poll that doesn’t mean anything at all.

You’re watching the right-wingers fiddling around while your country burns around you.

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Hysteria as ONE poll puts Starmer Labour level with Tories. Why isn’t he 20 points ahead?

No answers: Starmer’s Labour is level in the polls because of Tory incompetence, not because of anything he has done. His own decisions could force his ejection from the party leadership within a few short months.

Apparently The Guardian reckons Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has gained 26 points in the opinion polls to draw level with the Conservatives on 40 each. This is nonsense. In fact, I think it’s a flat-out lie.

My reasoning is obvious: Labour has not fallen to 14 points on the opinion polls this year. When Starmer took over as leader, I am reliably informed the party stood on 32 points.

So, if The Guardian was right, Labour should now be 18 points ahead. And that’s still not the 20 points ahead that Labour right-wing cuckoos said Jeremy Corbyn should have been, when he was Labour leader!

Who wrote that nonsense for the Graun and how do they justify their paycheques?

And consider this: while Labour as a party is said to be level with the Tories in this outlier poll by Opinium…

… Starmer himself has fallen behind Johnson. It is a matter of days since Starmer’s adherents were claiming his critics should shut up because a poll had put Starmer above Johnson as preferred PM while Labour was several points behind the Tories.

They want to have it both ways, and it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Labour’s current – only average – showing is due to the incompetence and greed of Boris Johnson and his Tory cronies, who are clearly to be seen cashing in on the Covid-19 crisis when they should be doing everything they can to help the citizens of the UK.

And it’s not going to last – because Starmer’s decisions are catching up with him.

So we see in Labour Heartlands that genuine left-winger and film director Ken Loach wants to know Starmer’s involvement in the Julian Assange case:

As DPP, Sir Keir Starmer tempered his supposed love of liberty by fast-tracking the extradition of Julian Assange (a process now making its way through the courts). He flouted legal precedents by advising Swedish lawyers not to question Assange in Britain: a decision that prolonged the latter’s legal purgatory, denied closure to his accusers in Sweden, and sealed his fate before a US show trial. Leaked emails from August 2012 show that, when the Swedish legal team expressed hesitancy about keeping Assange’s case open, Sir Keir’s office replied: ‘Don’t you dare get cold feet’.

Documents released under Freedom of Information requests to Italian magazine La Repubblica confirm the very close relationship between the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Sweden in the Julian Assange case. The files contain hundreds of mostly redacted emails sent over a five-year period. But according to one authoritative source, the number of CPS documents relating to the case may be much greater than has so far been disclosed.

In May 2017, the Swedish authorities announced they had ceased all remaining investigations into alleged sexual assault by WikiLeaks founder Assange. But the Metropolitan Police arrest warrant for skipping bail would remain in force. Subsequently, Assange’s legal team sought a ruling that the Met warrant should be rescinded, but the court ruled otherwise.

This case is one of the great political cases of the century, as John McDonnell recently said. It’s a defining case for the left, and Sir Keir Starmer has taken the most conservative position imaginable.

This is what Labour Party members can expect from a Starmer leadership: unquestioning loyalty to the establishment on both sides of the Atlantic.

And then we have the matter of the Labour Payout – the £600,000 that Starmer handed over to a group of right-wing factionalists who are no longer working for Labour but who made extravagant claims about anti-Semitism and Jeremy Corbyn, while apparently doing all they could to sabotage the party’s chances at election (according to a now-infamous leaked Labour report).

One part of those allegations involved the diversion of 2017 election funds away from target seats to safe seats in a move that was hidden from Corbyn. Former elections director Patrick Heneghan was said to be responsible for this and he has now published his attempts at self-justification in response to the inquiry into that leaked report.

His response has been picked apart in a 14-tweet thread by Steve Howell, who also worked on Labour’s General Election Campaign Committee (GECC). I make no apology for including those tweets here, so we all have access to them:

(Oh yeah, let’s have the rest of that previous thread as well:)

It is clear that Heneghan did siphon off Labour campaign money that could have been used to win the seats needed to form a government in 2017 – without the knowledge of the party leader – and it is entirely possible that this action prevented Labour from winning that year’s election.

So why did Starmer give a huge amount of money to the people who threatened to take Labour to court over it? It seems clear they did not have a case.

Put these matters together – along with any others that you care to mention – and one thing seems clear:

Keir Starmer’s position as Labour leader is on borrowed time. He may not last long after the Forde report is published.

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Humiliation for centrists: Starmer falls nine points behind Tories when they said he’d be 20 ahead

Keir the clueless: he genuinely doesn’t know what he is doing wrong.

It has all gone horribly wrong for the Labour centrists and their figurehead Keir Starmer.

His plan to fool left-wing, traditional Labour supporters into electing him as leader and then push them out of the party succeeded a treat.

The problem is, the rest of his strategy – to ditch the left-wing policies he used to woo those voters as no longer needed, replace them with centrist (read right-wing/sub-Tory) policies and win support from Lib Dem/Tory voters – has failed utterly.

In what should be his honeymoon period, Starmer’s new New Labour has slumped in the latest Survation poll (Survation is currently the most reliable opinion pollster) to a level almost as low as that which his followers are believed to have engineered for Jeremy Corbyn in last year’s general election.

But that outcome was based on lies and this is due to Starmer’s actual behaviour.

It will fall lower, but the ridicule from critics on the left is already bad enough:

Crude though it may be, Cornish Damo has a point, I think.

Neither Starmer nor his “centrist” supporters will accept it for a while – but there’s plenty of time until the next general election.

Once he’s had a few local defeats, I reckon the rank-and-file members will be clamouring for a return to Corbyn-style policies…

And the removal of “centrism” from Labour altogether. We’ve heard the “broad church” arguments; the right-wingers need to remember that, as a rule, people don’t start fights with fellow members of the same church.

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Isn’t it his own influence – rather than public opinion – Johnson is spending a fortune on?

Spend, spend, spend: but Boris Johnson is ensuring that your money only pays his friend’s firms to provide polling that supports his activities, it seems.

It is good that someone is asking why Boris Johnson is spending £2 million this year on opinion polling – even if it is only Parliament’s toothless public accounts committee.

Critics have claimed the Tory – and his government – has been trying to understand public opinion in order to follow it, in order to gain our approval by doing so.

But isn’t it more likely that he is trying to use these polls to tell us what to think, rather than for us to tell him what to do?

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said almost as much in an attempt to justify the spend: “During this unprecedented pandemic it has been vital that people follow public health messages to save lives… This work has helped us to deliver communications campaigns to support the UK’s response.”

It’s about what the Tories communicate to us, you see – not what we tell them.

Oh, and it’s also about funnelling even more public money into the hands of the Tories’ friends, such as the research company linked to Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings that received a plum contract that was never offered on open tender (as would normally have been the case).

The excuse – that Downing Street used legally-sound emergency regulations that permit urgent Covid-related services to be quickly commissioned – was paper-thin at the start.

It disintegrated altogether when it was revealed that some of the work for which the euphemistically-titled People First received the £750,000 contract related to Brexit, not the virus.

Source: Spending watchdog to probe Tory contracts with polling companies worth at least £833,000 | The New European

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POLL: as Boris passes the buck, would YOU send a child to school on June 1?

And now it seems he wants to kill some more: children may be more resistant to Covid-19 than many adults, but they are susceptible to a variant of Kawasaki disease. How many will be laid low by a stupid prime minister’s stupid decision to reopen schools a stupid amount of time too early?

Boris Johnson has refused to take responsibility for deciding what should happen if teachers don’t turn up when schools reopen on Monday.

In that case, he can hardly hope to impose any authority on parents – one would imagine.

Johnson announced on May 10 that he hoped to be able to reopen schools for Reception and Year 6 pupils at the beginning of June.

We all knew this meant schools would be reopening then, even if a second wave of Covid-19 infections had broken over the United Kingdom, causing chaos; he’d said it so he was damn well going to do it.

But little effort has been made to protect teachers or children from possible Covid-19 infection if they go back.

Regulations for teachers tell them that they must continue working if they are exposed to anyone with the virus, meaning they may then go on to infect all the children in their class and, via their colleagues, all the children in the other classes too.

Social distancing plans suggested by some schools have prompted ridicule from the people – not least because they rely on Reception-age children understanding that they need to stay two metres or more away from each other. Fat chance!

Given all of these failures, this poll may seem a forgone conclusion, but with only a day to go, it seems worth asking the question of everybody, whether you have a child to send back to school (and bear in mind that this affects England only) or not:

Downing Street suggested that teachers and other staff who refuse to turn up in schools over safety concerns will be a matter for heads to sort out.

Asked whether they would be deemed to be in breach of their terms of employment, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Head teachers I’m sure will be having conversations with their own staff in the usual way.

“The Education Secretary has been working very closely with schools and unions for the last 10 weeks. He met with the unions again yesterday.

“Our approach throughout this has been to work closely with schools, heads, and teachers’ representatives to ensure that we deliver a cautious and phased return in a safe way.

“But I’m sure head teachers will have been having discussions with individual teachers.”

Source: Number 10 dismisses teachers’ fears about returning to school as matter for heads – Mirror Online

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Poll shows public trust in Tory handling of coronavirus pandemic has plummeted

How interesting that this came out the day before Boris Johnson traipsed back to work.

Yes, the latest poll says the public has lost faith in the way the Tory government has handled the coronavirus response in the UK.

The Opinium poll for The Observer showed:

57 per cent of people believe the government has handled the key issue of coronavirus testing poorly; only 15 per cent thought it had been handled well.

71 per cent think the level of testing was not enough – while only seven per cent thought it was adequate.

63 per cent say they government did not act fast enough to stop the spread of coronavirus; only 30 per cent thought it acted in good time.

In comparison with other countries, only the United States was believed to have made a much worse response to the pandemic. The UK was seen to be roughly on a par with Italy, Spain and France.

Notably, China was perceived as making a better response than the UK, with Australia better than China and South Korea better than Australia. Germany was considered the furthest ahead of the UK – but New Zealand wasn’t included in the results This Writer has seen.

The Observer‘s report says nothing about the UK’s record on PPE.

Source: Public trust plummets in Britain’s handling of pandemic, new poll reveals | World news | The Guardian

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Lord Steel quits over failure to report child sex abuse claims. Is that really enough? [POLL]

Cyril Smith and David Steel: The paedophile and the accessory to his crimes?

Lord Steel has resigned his membership of the Liberal Democrats and announced his intention to resign as a Lord after damning criticism by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

In a 190-page report, the inquiry accused Steel of “abdication of responsibility” after he failed to act on allegations about the late MP Sir Cyril Smith’s sexual interest in children.

Smith, who died in 2010, was investigated by police in 1969 over claims he sexually abused teenage boys at a hostel in Rochdale – and admitted he had acted as the boys claimed. But police decided not to prosecute, and we are left to question that decision.

Steel told the inquiry last year that he failed to pass on allegations against Smith even though he believed them to be true, because it was “past history”. He even recommended Smith for a knighthood later.

This is just one example of a political culture in the 1970s, 80s and even later that the inquiry described as valuing politicians’ reputations “higher than the fate of children”.

Those are chilling words, and anybody reading them should be shocked and disgusted at the behaviour, not just of those who abused children, but of those who went out of their way to protect the abusers.

They are accessories in some of the most serious sexual crimes.

As such, do you think a mere resignation by Lord Steel is enough? Shouldn’t the police be considering prosecution? Didn’t he aid and abet a sex criminal? Didn’t he pervert the course of justice in doing so?

What about Baroness Thatcher? She is implicated in the case of late Tory MP (have you noticed how the perpetrators all seem to have died, now the evidence is coming to light?) Sir Peter Morrison who “had a penchant for small boys” and was allegedly caught by police in 1989, molesting a 15-year-old boy on a train in Crewe.

The following year, he became Mrs Thatcher’s top aide, and he was knighted in 1991.

The report said it was unclear whether she had been told he was gay or that he was a paedophile – but this rings false. If her party whips knew, then as leader she should have known. It was her business to know.

Consider the recent scandal of the dossier that Tory whips have kept on recent – and, presumably, current – MPs’ sexual activities. It seems incredible to expect a prime minister not to have information about such – potentially hugely damaging – behaviour by members of their team.

The report said people in positions of public prominence had been given deference that meant their crimes had been ignored.

That is unacceptable.

Nobody engaging in criminal activity of any kind should be above the law – as Cyril Smith, Peter Morrison and – yes – Lord Steel and Baroness Thatcher seem to have been.

Those who have died should be stripped of any titles they had and any historical record of them should show that they disgraced their positions in the worst possible way.

And those who are alive should pay a heavy penalty, as described by the law – including those who knew what was happening but didn’t raise the alarm.

But that’s just my opinion. What do you think?

Source: Lord Steel quits after inquiry slams his failure to report child sex abuse claims – Mirror Online

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Is Vox Political on this Home Office list of left-wing ‘extremism’?

Take a look at this:

The Home Office has lumped together left-wing groups and green campaigners with neo-nazis and white supremacists in literature and posters supposedly designed to educate officers about extremism.

The Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) document has categories including white supremacist and nationalist groups, left-wing and “associated single issue groups,” animal rights groups, and environmental campaigns.

The left-wing and environmental groups listed include the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), Stop the War, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Greenpeace.

Let’s have a poll:

Source: Left wing? You may be on police extremism list | Morning Star

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Job done: BBC got the Tories re-elected and now Tory pollster is softening us up for privatisation

“Blatantly Backing Conservatives”: but is the BBC irredeemable or could it be restored to its role as the greatest impartial news provider in the world – if the Tories don’t privatise it first?

Did you enjoy a lot of TV over Christmas? Did Worzel Gummidge tickle you? Or was Dracula more to your taste? How about that classic-with-a-new-face, Doctor Who?

BBC output – and not just drama – appears to have won the Christmas ratings war, but the corporation itself is in danger of being destroyed by politicians.

Boris Johnson said in the run-up to the general election that he thought the BBC in its current format – as a public service broadcaster supported by a licence fee paid by all television users – has had its day.

This Writer finds that a strange way to repay the organisation that has done more to re-elect the Conservatives than any other. Around 70 per cent of the UK gets its news from the BBC and a high proportion of those people let its newscasters tell them what to think.

The BBC’s election coverage was hugely controversial; there is a large body of opinion that the Corporation went far too easy on Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, despite policy positions that are, frankly, completely whacko.

In contrast, BBC presenters were almost feral in their reaction to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, whose policies – should they ever be discussed – were actually far more in tune with the thoughts of the nation.

There are many possible reasons for this behaviour by a broadcaster that should have been impartial – especially considering the fact that it relies on our money for its existence.

But I don’t think that’s why YouGov has just released a poll saying most people want to scrap the licence fee.

YouGov is the Tory polling organisation. It was set up by Nadhim Zahawi and another prominent Tory, and has always existed in the shadow of its founders’ political ambitions.

So, following up on Mr Johnson’s comments, it seems likely to This Writer that YouGov has polled the people most likely to support the end of the licence fee, in order to produce these results.

Remember: polls are published in order to tell you what to think, not to tell you what other people think.

The Tory plan would be to turn the BBC into a subscription-only or advertising-funded service, making it far less capable of providing the services it currently offers.

Then private, billionaire-owned companies could rush in to fill the gap – especially in news programming – with pro-Tory propaganda.

And the BBC itself could be taken over by privateers, leaving the logo only to mislead us into thinking that it’s the same as it ever was.

You know – like the Tories are doing with the NHS.

Labour offered reform of the BBC to eliminate political interference but you (or your fellow voters) didn’t want that.

If you lose the best broadcaster in the world because of the election result, I hope you know where to place the blame.

Source: Half of Britons want the BBC licence fee scrapped, new poll reveals | Daily Mail Online

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Starmer early favourite for Labour leadership – according to poll by Tory-run organisation. Trustworthy?

Keir Starmer: does anybody really think Labour would benefit from a Centrist/Blairite leader like he would be?

‘Centrist’ Keir Starmer, who has taken much of the blame for Brexit policies that are thought to have lost Labour the general election, is now the top candidate to become the party’s new leader, according to a poll that should not be trusted at all.

Why shouldn’t it be trusted, you ask? Because it was produced by YouGov, the polling organisation co-founded by current Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi.

Who would have an interest in getting public support behind a leader likely to alienate Labour’s more left-wing supporters? I’d suggest that a Tory-run polling organisation would.

And it is grossly misleading as the election won’t happen for several months and not all candidates have thrown their hats into the ring.

The poll has been picked up by the Tory media (obviously) – and even a few left-wing outlets have mentioned it.

But the reaction generally seems resoundingly negative:

Personally, I’m increasingly hoping that Ian Lavery puts himself up for the role:

He appeals to me because he, at least, knows where to find Boris Johnson:

In the gutter with the other vermin.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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