Tag Archives: Richmond Park

Ken Livingstone appears on TV; Twitter responds idiotically

Ken Livingstone on the BBC’s Sunday Politics, December 11, 2016 [Image: BBC].

Suspended Labour grandee Ken Livingstone appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Politics today (December 11, 2016), to defend the party’s recent by-election losses under crossfire from host Andrew Neil and Chris Leslie, representing the party’s right wing.

Of course, Twitter’s collective knee was jerking spasmodically throughout, and afterwards.

First up with the stupid was Ian Austin, another Labour MP, who earned notoriety when he tried to shout down Jeremy Corbyn while the Labour leader was criticising Tony Blair in response to the Chilcot Inquiry report:

Mr Austin’s political leanings mean he helpfully voted with the Conservatives on George Osborne’s silly fiscal rules (remember them?) – a Labour MP who voted for austerity. Meanwhile, his expenses claims have been astronomical.

And Mr Livingstone, of course, didn’t mention Hitler once.

Instead he pointed out, reasonably, that Richmond and Sleaford were not Tory-Labour marginals, and where by-elections have been held in such places, the results indicate a Labour victory.

Chris Leslie was quick to support the candidates, even though both have been criticised as right-wingers who do not support Jeremy Corbyn. Could that have been a reason for their unpopularity?

Moving on to Labour’s economic credibility, Mr Livingstone said the UK economy would “limp along” for the next few years, which is pretty much the opinion of any reputable economist.

https://twitter.com/NSP55/status/807909828488261632

Yes indeed, Narinder Singh – and underemployment is at a record high as well. People have jobs, but they don’t pay well enough, and the UK’s productivity is no better for the extra members of the workforce. So the economy is limping, and Brexit will only make that worse.

On that subject, Mr Livingstone said he doubted the UK would be able to get a good deal from the European Union. Andrew Neil countered by pointing out that Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour is committed to getting the best possible deal. The two positions are not mutually exclusive; it’s simply that the best possible deal isn’t likely to be good. But Mr Livingstone allowed himself to be distracted by the line of questioning and said he did not believe that was possible – a confusing statement that may be used against him.

Mr Livingstone supported Labour’s plan for huge investment in the economy, saying it could be funded: “If we cracked down on what some believe to be £150 billion of tax avoidance… We can say to Starbucks… we’ll tax every cup of coffee you sell.”

This produced a cracking response from Zorba Eisenhower:

Yeah – there’s just one problem with that, Zorba – VAT is paid by the customer, not the vendor.

More to the point was the comment

In fairness, Andrew Neil’s flippant response generated something of a backlash as well:

https://twitter.com/decouvrir_xx/status/807912121690365952

On Labour’s current standing in public opinion – as defined by the polls which, as everybody reading This Blog knows, are not a reliable indicator – Mr Livingstone said: “If in a year’s time it was still as bad as this, we’d all be worried. I don’t think it will be.”

This was welcomed by the Twitter critics. It was as if their previous negativity towards him had never existed:

Andrew Neil, in a last-gasp bid to breach Mr Livingstone’s self-confidence, pointed out that Labour has lost Scotland, and its support in the North of England seemed to be wavering.

But he replied: “It’s in the north, in the areas that have been neglected, that Jeremy’s strategy has the most relevance.” He went on to discuss the rebuilding of British industry that is part of Labour’s current economic strategy.

In contrast, Chris Leslie hardly got a look-in. He had a few moments but they were mostly flops, despite the interest they generated on Twitter. For example:

Is he? Is he part of Labour’s leadership, despite the fact that he was suspended from the party back in the summer, on a trumped-up charge of anti-Semitism? Please. Let’s be reasonable.

Mr Leslie’s other good line was this:

See? Tom Newton Dunn (who?) agrees. And it’s true that Mr Livingstone is a divisive figure. But he spoke coherently in this interview and Mr Neil was unable to dent his logic, even if he (and, clearly, many members of the public) didn’t agree with it.

Mr Leslie, on the other hand, was dismissed with a sideswipe when Mr Neil poured ridicule on his claim that his side of Labour would hold the leadership to account. Labour’s right wing had lost and was deeply unpopular with the party membership, Mr Neil reckoned, and I reckon he’s right.

Oh, and here’s just one more (intelligent) comment about the main focus of discussion on Twitter:

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:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Richmond Park shows Labour can’t afford to field anti-Corbyn candidates | The SKWAWKBOX

161202-anti-corbyn-no-entry
Opinions please!

The Lib Dems, understandably, are ecstatic and Tim Farron’s speech at Richmond Park this morning was full of predictions of voters deserting Corbyn’s supposedly-failed project. This is bollocks, of course, but understandable bollocks, given the LibDems still-dire situation.

Labour right-wingers, fully supported by their media allies, will attempt to pin Labour’s result – an 8% fall in share compared to 2015 – on leader Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘unelectability’. This is predictable, but utter nonsense – because the result shows the complete opposite.

Labour’s candidate in this by-election, Christian Wolmar, was an outspoken Corbyn critic during the recent leadership election and a firm supporter of Corbyn’s rival, Owen Smith – he organised the unsuccessful motion in support of Smith at his constituency party.

His performance in this election was woeful, a mere 1,515 votes – less than 4%.

Labour were never going to win this election. But the performance of an explicitly anti-Corbyn candidate speaks volumes. In the Sheffield council by election in September, Labour lost over 9% of its share and lost the seat to the LibDems – with a vociferously anti-Corbyn candidate, Julie Grocutt.

Whereas in by-elections with pro-Corbyn or even neutral candidates, Labour has seen substantial swings in its favour in many areas.

Spot the pattern yet?

Source: Richmond Park shows Labour can’t afford to field anti-Corbyn candidates | The SKWAWKBOX

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:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

The Richmond Park by-election, the upset – and the spin

Sarah Olney smiles after winning the Richmond Park by-election [Image: PA].

Sarah Olney smiles after winning the Richmond Park by-election [Image: PA].

Congratulations to Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney on her narrow win against Zac Goldsmith. It shows that if you flood a constituency with supporters and pester the public hard enough, there’s nothing you can’t get them to do.

Of course, it isn’t very pleasant – but then, Liberal Democrats aren’t.

Party supporters flooded into Richmond Park, making nearly 100,000 attempts to speak to the constituency’s 82,500 voters, and stuffing their letterboxes with pamphlets.

Many constituents said they had been annoyed by the bombardment of Lib Dem propaganda.

The Liberal Democrats had two advantages in any case: Firstly, Richmond Park had been a Lib Dem seat until 2010, so voters had a natural inclination in their direction. And the constituency had voted Remain in the EU referendum, with 72 per cent of voters opposing Brexit.

Party campaigning was therefore focused on a promise to oppose Tory plans to quit the EU, with Ms Olney vowing to vote against any move to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that might be put through Parliament.

Where does that leave Labour?

Many commentators will want to assure you that this is evidence of Labour’s disappearance from the political mainstream. You’ll see it in all the newspapers that are run by right-wing businessmen who want you to vote in their best interests.

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, came up with this scurrilous nonsense in his comments to the BBC: “Clearly a concern to voters was they desperately wanted a moderate, decent alternative to the Tories now Labour has shuffled off the main stage.”

Again, this is a comment from a man with a vested – indeed, desperate, considering the Liberal Democrats now have a grand total of nine MPs – interest in talking down the Labour Party.

Hopefully his comments will come as a sharp reminder to those within Labour who said that party should not field a candidate, that it had a duty to do so – and that failing to do so would have worsened the criticism from opponents like the schoolboyish Farron.

Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jonathan Reynolds had argued that Labour had little chance of winning in Richmond Park and should not field a candidate, but This Writer agrees with Peter Edwards of LabourList.

He wrote: “Avoiding the fight entirely would have resonated around the country. Labour needs to show people who struggle under the oppressive and unjust weight of a Tory government that it is fighting for them, even when its chances of success are slim to minuscule.”

Quite correct. Labour’s position on Brexit – that the EU referendum is done, the people have spoken, and we have to get the best out of it that we can – was never going to be popular in Richmond.

But Labour had to be there to show that the party opposes – in all parts of the UK – the dangerous right-wing policies of Zac Goldsmith and, until the dissolution of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, Tim Farron; policies that led to the death of a man in freezing Birmingham earlier this week.

And after Mr Goldsmith’s disgustingly racist campaign to be London Mayor, how would it have looked if Labour had not fielded a candidate against him? The party would have been accused of backing away from the fight or – worse – condoning the racism employed by the Goldsmith campaign.

This is a tricky time for Labour.

The party has a hugely popular leader who has, at long last, put forward policies that a majority of the public support.

The Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the SNP and most of the people you’ll see on the BBC’s Question Time are terrified of this.

So their strategy is to starve Labour of the oxygen of publicity by putting forward warped claims about the party and denying it the chance to respond.

Notice, for example, that there is no comment from a Labour representative in the BBC’s article, quoted below.

That is not an accident.

So beware.

These so-called Liberals and Tories and their allies in the media will spin you into voting for another extreme right-wing government if they possibly can.

The Liberal Democrats have caused a major upset in the Richmond Park by-election, overturning a 23,015 majority to oust ex-Tory MP Zac Goldsmith.

Mr Goldsmith stood as an independent after leaving the Conservative Party in protest at the government’s decision to back a third Heathrow runway.

But Lib Dem Sarah Olney, who is also opposed to Heathrow expansion, fought the campaign on the issue of Brexit.

Labour’s Christian Wolmar lost his £500 deposit as he trailed a distant third.

Ms Olney polled 20,510 votes to Mr Goldsmith’s 18,638.

The Conservative Party, UK Independence Party and Green Party did not field candidates.

Source: Zac Goldsmith ousted by Lib Dems in Richmond Park by-election – BBC News

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:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Labour must not give up Richmond Park without a fight, says prospective candidate

161105-labour-rosetteAgreed.

I don’t know Ellie Cumbo, but she makes all the right points here.

Zac Goldsmith was a disaster for his constituents – voting the wrong way on the EU, local government, human rights, education, the NHS and who knows how many other vile Tory policies.

Just about the only thing he got right was his resignation.

Labour can’t leave it to the Liberal Democrats to make these points. They are almost as bad as the Conservatives, having supported their government during the Coalition years.

Labour must make these points – on the doorstep and in the media.

Because Labour should seize every chance it has to win.

When I saw from my trusty Twitter feed that our party was seriously considering not standing a candidate against Zac Goldsmith, I thought my head was going to explode. Even though the case was being made by people I hugely respect, I felt immediately that that would be the wrong decision for people in Richmond Park, and for Labour.

Goldsmith resigned because of the threat posed to the environment by Heathrow expansion (it isn’t clear, of course, what alternative policies he supports to boost jobs and growth). But in voting for Brexit, unlike a whopping 72 per cent of his constituents, he has happily waved through the biggest threat in his political lifetime to our economy, to open, harmonious communities, and-yes- even to important environmental protections.

He has also, of course, voted through … Tory policies which are of huge concern to Richmond Park voters- from ripping local government funding in half to expanding divisive, life-scarring grammar schools. And while his deplorable mayoral campaign may thankfully be over, it should serve to remind us how important it is that progressives always stand up for their values. Labour must not dream of outsourcing that job to the Liberal Democrats- a party which cared more about its doomed AV referendum than protecting housing benefit for low-income families, or support for sick and disabled people, or the legal aid many rely on for access to justice.

Most importantly of all, a strong Labour performance on December 1 absolutely does have the potential to deliver huge benefits locally for Richmond Park.

Source: Richmond Park prospective candidate: I will show Labour at its diverse best | LabourList

Do you want Vox Political to cover a story? Use this form to tell us about it (but NOT to comment on the article above, please):

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:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook