Sunday, 3 June 2007


Good news for the Labour Left in a YouGov poll published today by the Sunday Times. Around 1100 Party members and 833 trade union members were recently questioned about their voting intentions for the Labour leadership and deputy leadership.
With only a few days of proper media coverage, support for John McDonnell still doubled from the last YouGov verdict - from 9 to 18 per cent of Labour members and an even better 26 per cent of trade unionists said they would vote for a left candidate. Interestingly, Jon Cruddas, the much-hyped "soft left" alternative, is an unimpressive fifth out of six with only 10 per cent support among Party members and 12 percent of trade unionists. It's pointless now to indulge in endless "if onlys" but with six weeks of a proper debate ( not the Albanian nonsense we're having now) it seems to me John would have got about 30 per cent of the vote.Which, coming from nowhere, would have been pretty damn impressive.
But let's look at policy, which is where it really gets interesting in terms of where we are now. A majority of Party members clearly support the policy platform outlined by John McDonnell.
Only 37 per cent of Party members support keeping Trident. 58 per cent want to scrap Blairite reforms of the NHS and education, and 66 per cent of Party members are in favour of increasing the top rate of taxation. 58 per cent want to bring the railways back into public ownership. 57 per cent want to see tax also increased on car use and air travel.And 68 per cent were in favour of distancing ourselves from George Bush's policies.
Basically , almost EVERY key policy John stood on is supported by a majority of the members and even more of the trade unionists. Real hope for the future......which I will point out next time someone tells me I am "extreme left" and living in the past.


ian said...

This is good but predictable news. Active in the john4leader campaign we all knew of the groundswell of support there was in the LP and in the TUs.

Doctor Dunc said...

It's good news, especially as I've tended to feel YouGov polls in the past have probably depressed left support a tad.

Of course, the specific issue re: John's personal support is primarily due to the increased exposure: 3 days of coverage, approximately. I suspect John would have made a very good showing if the contest had taken place. I don't know whether to be encouraged or depressed!!!

Mike Baldock said...

Effectively this proves Brown was right to avoid an election - there must have been a real danger he'd win the election purely on the MPs college vote!

AN said...

But the paradox here is that the right were nonethless able to steamroller the contest through the PLP.

All of what you say is very valid Susan, and most significantly Labour voters are broadly to the left of the government, and only many issues they are on average to the left of the party membership.

But what is to be done to capitalise in that?

grimupnorth said...

Good question AN, hope we will be getting some answers fairly soon from LRC......Cruddasites seem to think their one-man mission will deliver some of these but they are on another planet.By wau of contrast, If Cruddas had worked in tandem with McDonnell instead of backstabbing, oh don't get me started.....

Kevin said...

So John McDonnell's not on the ballot paper because Jon Cruddas's MPs didnt support him?
Exactly what planet are YOU on?
If we're going to get John Mc (or another left candidate) on the ballot paper next time, perhaps it's time to build some wider alliances...

Doctor Dunc said...

And that onus is on us, Kevin?

We'll talk again after the deputy leadership contest no doubt.

JC said...

It was such a shame that John never made it onto the ballot. I find Brown lacks some personality and i think he would have suffered to some extend had he had to debate with John for a few weeks.

It would have been good to actually argue for something that i could actually get behind.

However, good to see that there seems to be good support, at least at the grass roots, for the left still.

Commissar said...

Not all of the Labour Left want to revel any bad news that hits the Cruddas campaign.

Is this not a forum for debate to represent the views of all those on the labour left wether "soft" (dont forget to spit if reading aloud) or "hard"

Still waiting for a pro-cruddas post which might stimulate some debate

Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

"So John McDonnell's not on the ballot paper because Jon Cruddas's MPs didnt support him?"

That's about the size of it.

More, as duncan says, will no doubt be said after the DL campaign.

Doctor Dunc said...

I too would like to see a pro-Cruddas piece. Anyone want to write one?

Kevin said...

Doctor Dunc wrote:
"And that onus is on us, Kevin?"
I'd say yes, "us" as in all of us who want to see a fundamental shift in the direction of the party/Government. It would also include many who backed Meacher.
In terms of stimulating debate, as the good Doctor suggests, I would say:
Just like many of those in the Grassroots Alliance that the 'hard left' work with successfully over NEC elections, Cruddas is of the centre left, and more importantly the democratic left, and serious about rebuilding the Labour Party at a rank and file level. Among his supporters, including a large number of trade union leftwingers, the leadership of Amicus and the T&G, are the sort of people the Labour Left needs to be engaging with if we are to actually get a left candidate onto the ballot paper for Leader next time. I repeat that Cruddas and his close supprting MPs that are organising his campaign would not have been enough to get John McD on the ballot paper - some of Jon Cruddas's supporters like Lynne Jones and Diane Abbott did back John McD. You can't move MPs around en bloc, they don't work like that as we saw over Meacher's supporters. It may have escaped people's notice but 4 or 5 of the Campaign Group nominated Brown.
If we can successfully work together in the Grasroots Alliance, we can do it in a future leadership bid.
There are five main reasons I would recommend socialists voting for Jon Cruddas:
• He is the only candidate to call for an inquiry into Iraq and recognise it was wrong to go to war;
• He is passionate about party democracy and has refused to take up the trappings of Deputy Prime Minister if elected;
• He has prioritised affordable housing, probably the key issue in re-engaging working class voters, which the other candidates have now adopted;
• He has helped lead the fight against the BNP, particularly campaigning hard in the build-up to the May elections;
• He could be the parliamentary focus for the fight against renewal of Trident - he is the only candidate to oppose renewal;

Commissar said...

"I too would like to see a pro-Cruddas piece. Anyone want to write one?"

I don't mind penning a piece, unless someone more erudite would like to give it a go

JC said...

I looked on the Labour Party website last night and loked at the support from CLPs in support of Brown - a huge amount. I don't know how it works, but would the members vote on who their CLP would nominate? That wouldn't be too encouraging.

The CLP for here (North West Durham), the MP is Hilary Armstron (who i abhor her voting record as an MP) was on there. It's an Industrial area that has undergone some regeneration but wages for many are poor etc and isn't it these types who should not have supported Brown so whole heartedly?

You see, i'm about to join the LRC but was unsure whether to be more pro-active and join Labour also. But i fear that i may be the 'odd' one out in the group if socialism is dead in groups such as these. I could look at it as an excuse to cause some trouble and at least bring a different voice - try and make have a small influence on events (not that i like to cause trouble... oh no).

Any Labour Party members advise on what their CLPs did?


Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...


Our GC voted to endorse Brown.

There was initially a procedural motion from a member saying that we ought not to have a vote. That was defeated by about 11-9.

The vote on whether or not to endorse him went about 14-5 in favour.

All this was, of course, completely pointless.

We also gave our supporting nomination to Cruddas by 14-7.

I would suggest joining anyway. If you are in an area with other left wing comrades it will be easier for you, of course, but even if not you may find that sometimes you can sway people in the centre of the party towards you. Eg. on our GC, I'd estimate there is about 25% hard left, 35% hard right and 40% in between who are there to be persuaded. It sometimes makes for interesting meetings.

grimupnorth said...

Let's not forget over 200 CLPs did not nominate Brown .MIne included. I did an interview with the BBC which is still referred to on the website.We were rung up by the regional Party but no we still held firm. JC, join the LRC AND the Party .We need asmany left-wing vlices as possible. Cruddas "passionate about Party democracy." ? Yeah, right.So passionate that he helped deny us a vote. Sorry to bang on about this. But it's true........

Doctor Dunc said...

My ballot paper arrived this morning. Having a hell of a dilemma now... And a dilemma about something so pointless!

JC said...

Hi Grimupnorth,

Thanks for the reply. It would be interesting to join i have to admit - hilary armstorng is the MP and i'm sure it's a relation who is the chair of the CLP. I'd probably enjoy being in the minority, fighting my point - such a romantic thought, they may even make a film some day.

Anyway back in reality. I didn't realise that 200 hadn't nominated Brown and i can imagine that quite a few would have been hounded!

At least you all have the deputy to vote for! Who is everyone voting for?


MatthewStiles said...

The CLP's only nominated Brown once it was announced that he was already elected unopposed. So they're more a show of loyalty to a new leader than a vote between different ideological strands in the party.

Doctor Dunc said...

You're right Matthew. The way some people on the right have tried to suggest that those nominations have some meaning is incredible!

JC said...

All a publicity stunt then!!

I still maintain that Brown may be un electable anyhow and will struggle at the next General Election. No doubt he's a competant person and shrewd, but you can never full seperate personality from the politics. When John debated at the Fabian society with him, even though John was having to defend and advance 'left' views against the current system, he was far more convincing and exciting in some ways. Also, Brown should not be allowed to forget or distance himself from the fact he supported and allowed the finance for Iraq.

Anyone think the same, that Brown may struggle to appeal to voters?


E10 Rifle said...

Our GC didn't bother to vote to endorse Brown either - all a bit North Korean to have a vote on a candidate who's already won. There was no great clamour, on any side, for there to be a vote to endorse him either.

We endorsed Cruddas though, and I voted for him individually too - for the sort of reasons Kev lists.

Though neither the leadership nor the deputy leadership issues have been very satistying, there's still a fighting chance the left could salvage something from this. The key thing to remember is that what we might call New Labourism is on the intellectual and political retreat - they're not the masters of the universe they were 10 years ago. Yet many of them are too deluded and stupid to realise this (see Hazel Blears' performance on QT tonight). Which is an opportunity also.