Following the announcement of Tony Blair’s knighthood on New Year’s Eve – which has already seen over 500,000 sign a petition to strip him of the gong – Shadow Education Secretary Wes Streeting heaped praise on the award:
Congratulations to Sir Tony Blair, but I know he’ll be even more proud that @ValerieAmos, a personal hero of mine and so many others, has become - yet again - a trailblazer. So many firsts in her career, beating a path for others to follow. A totally inspirational woman. https://t.co/mVGc7JH2rR— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) December 31, 2021
Immediately, left-wing critics of Wes pointed out his views had seemingly done a 180-degree U-turn since 2010, when he tweeted that Blair should be “tried at the Hague for the various war crimes to his sordid name”.
This would be a startling change of attitude towards the former PM, had he not outed none other than Owen Jones as the author of said tweet back at Labour Party conference 2021.
Thankfully for Tony, his knightly successor Sir Keir has defended his New Year award, telling GMB this morning he deserves the honour. This ain’t no Blair ditch project…
Bad news for TrotsApp: Leadbeater won the Batley & Spen by-election. Having spent the last few weeks hoping a Labour loss would end Starmer’s leadership and enable a far-left takeover, the socialist crew are now cheering through gritted teeth at the result – all the while keen to remind Sir Keir it only proves he needs their “radical domestic policies” to survive, and pretending they aren’t furious they can’t replace him with John McDonnell.
Angela Rayner, meanwhile, has tweeted to congratulate Kim Leadbeater “and the whole Labour team“. Oozing conviction…
Polls are now open in the Batley & Spen by-election, and the Tories aren’t the only ones hoping they’ll storm to victory. In a rare moment of bipartisan consensus, the TrotsApp crowd are also quite openly banking on a Labour car-crash – and using it as an opportunity to ram through a more left-wing candidate in any looming leadership challenge. The Socialist Campaign Group are even reported to have met last night to discuss the best strategy for capitalising on the loss. Brace for crocodile tears over the result come tomorrow morning…
Inevitably Owen Jones is at the front of the pack. Ever since Labour lost in Hartlepool, Owen’s been beating the drum for a far-left takeover of the party, and now he’s made his big pitch:
“If Labour lose the Batley and Spen by election, Starmer will have to resign…if Keir Starmer resigns, then you need 20 MPs, and the left would then have a very good chance at putting a candidate forward. A lot of people would say John McDonnell would be the obvious candidate in that particular circumstance.”
Yes, John McDonnell is the man to help rebuild the Red Wall he helped destroy in 2019. Obviously.
Team Novara’s not far behind, with Aaron Bastani saying “Keir Starmer is now the worst person, at the worst moment, to lead the Labour Party“, and claiming George Galloway “could leave Starmer staring into the abyss”. Ash Sarkar also declared “it would be disastrous to put Keir Starmer in post until the next general election”. It’s certainly been amusing to watch them all pretend they’re really unhappy about Galloway’s arrival…
Then there are the MPs. Diane Abbott’s already suggested “it must surely be curtains” for Starmer if Labour lose, Angela Rayner is doing her best to act like she’s not about to mount a leadership challenge, and even Lisa Nandy is thinking of giving it another go. And to think this by-election was all about “local issues”…
Labour suffered their worst by-election defeat in history in Chesham and Amersham last night. Taking just 1.6% of the vote, the party easily broke their previous 28-year record for worst by-election result, when they earned 2% in Newbury in 1993. Which also means they say goodbye to their deposit…
Obviously it was a bad result for the Tories; for Labour it was an absolute car-crash. In 2017, they came second with 11,374 votes (or 20.6% of the vote share). Even in 2019, they still managed over 7,000 votes. In less than 2 years, Labour’s vote share in the constituency has fallen 8 times over.
The most hilarious stat to come out of this, though, is that at 622 votes, Labour are rumoured to have earned fewer votes last night than there are Labour members in the constituency. Clearly a botched effort to vote tactically…
As expected, TrotsApp are furious: Owen Jones has already called for Starmer’s resignation if Labour go on to lose Batley & Spen, and Aaron Bastani says “the excuses need to stop” as Starmer continues to blame his polling on “a vaccine bounce”. Skwawkbox even went so far as to declare him “the worst Labour leader ever“. Batley & Spen is coming up on July 1 – Guido’s marked his calendar.
Every now and then, failed PhD student and amateur psephologist Owen Jones opens his laptop and attempts to explain to his Guardian readership what the Labour Party is doing wrong. Given that the party’s been polling in the gutter for quite a few years now, Owen has had plenty of time to figure out the problem and what should be done about it. Guido’s had a browse through the Jones archives, however, and it looks like he’s still having trouble making up his mind.
In 2019, Owen declared that for Labour to win, their manifesto had to “put rocket boosters under its efforts to convince the under-40s to trudge out of their homes in mid-December to polling stations.” According to Owen, Labour had to “turbocharge its offer to young people,” because “Britain’s fate depend[ed] on it”.
Two years and one historic election loss later, and Owen has decided that that was complete garbage. In his latest Guardian disquisition, he writes:
“One of [the 2019 manifesto’s] main failings was that while it had eye-catching policies that excited many of the young, it failed to paint in primary colours its offer for older voters.”
Go back further and a younger Owen was predicting the imminent demise of the Tories because “working-class Toryism is dying and it’s taking the party with it“:
“Pollsters divide society into “middle-class” ABC1s and “working-class” C2DEs. It’s a crude and inaccurate measure, but it does give us a good indication of the state of play. According to YouGov, the Tories are on just 26% among the C2DEs: Labour, meanwhile, has almost exactly twice as much support. The Tories have almost as little backing from people in the North as they do in Scotland. Toryism faces an existential crisis, because it can no longer muster enough support from working-class people. …
The Tories are in a mess, and they will have to defy history to get out of it.”
Well the Tories defied Owen’s version of history and have, since he wrote those words, won three elections and an 80 seat majority built on the votes of those very same working class C2DEs. Pundits sympathetic to Labour now talk of an existential crisis for the now narrowly urban, middle class Labour Party. Owen’s solution, as always, is probably just ‘more socialism’.
Labour MP Margaret Hodge took to Twitter last night to condemn the disgraceful and potentially unlawful behaviour of Unite, which has been accused of covertly funding and deliberately orchestrating the deselection of Labour MPs. In a tweeted rant Hodge wrote that Unite should focus on the priorities of its members “not the political whims of a few trade barons”.
Unite should be focusing on the priorities of its members in the wake of COVID-19. Not the political whims of a few trade union barons.— Margaret Hodge (@margarethodge) June 3, 2021
If this was funded secretly by the union, it the very least, immoral, and potentially unlawful.
Things escalated pretty quickly once Guardian columnist and 24/7 Twitter warrior Owen Jones waded into the scandal. He compared Hodge’s language to that of a “Thatcherite union hater” and said her decision to report Unite to the police was “disturbing”.
It’s very disturbing to see a Labour MP - in a party founded by the trade union movement - use language like “trade union barons”, which is used by Thatcherite union haters.— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) June 4, 2021
It’s also disturbing to see a Labour MP resort to reporting a union to the police for factional reasons. https://t.co/lDsEiWg53K
Hodge refused to backdown noting the that the politically hostile plot to deselect MPs is what is actually “disturbing”. Guido would have to agree…
Let me tell you what is actually "disturbing," Owen.— Margaret Hodge (@margarethodge) June 4, 2021
Top Unite officials were allegedly engaged in a secretive and politically hostile plot to deselect Labour MPs.
There is now solid evidence suggesting Unite may have committed an unlawful offence.
THIS is what is disturbing. https://t.co/CbnRjWbp5l
Jones responded by dodging and side-stepping the very serious allegations made by Hodge. Jones didn’t attempt to defend Unite’s questionable behaviour…
The last time Unite was reported to the police, they were cleared and Labour changed its voting system in a desperate attempt to dilute trade union power, which instead enabled Jeremy Corbyn to become leader.— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) June 4, 2021
Let’s see how it goes this time https://t.co/V9TVgRLjas
As usual we will leave it up to Guido’s co-conspirators to decide who has won this bitch fight…