Shortly after the EU referendum, the left-wing Labour Party decided to destroy itself. The Parliamentary Labour Party haven’t been happy with their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for quite some time now. They saw their chance to jump on him, and they took it.
Why don’t they like him? As far as I can figure, they’ve decided that they can’t win a general election with Corbyn in charge, and it seems that there’s nothing they want more than to win a general election. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like there’s anything wrong with a political party wanting to win a general election. It’s just that the PLP seem to want to win at all costs, even if that means abandoning political principles, ignoring party members, and lying to voters. I realise that those may be some really huge accusations to make at this point in the proceedings, but bear with me, I promise we’ll cover everything we need to.
Today we’re here to talk about the Labour Party and Owen Smith. Owen is the guy who’s running against Jeremy in the leadership election. He’s doing really badly, but some people are arguing that he’s exactly what the Labour Party need. As a member of the Labour Party, I get to have a vote in this election, so I’m very interested in this other Mr Smith. Historically, I’ve always been a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, but could I be wrong? Here’s my examination of Owen Smith, where he comes from, what he stands for, and whether or not I should vote for him.
The Labour Coup
Regardless of who was running against Jeremy, I am extremely unhappy about this entire thing happened. Like I said before, the Parliamentary Labour Party have never liked him. They don’t like the fact that he’s actually a left-wing politician. The Labour Party are supposed to be a left-wing party, but that hasn’t really been the case since the late 90s when Tony Blair changed the party to be more in the centre.
So Labour find themselves facing some sort of crisis. Do they stay in the middle/right to try to win as many votes as possible, or do they stay true to their left-wing roots, and risk not winning an election? That’s the simplified version. The truth is that it isn’t that simple at all.
First of all, we’ve got to see that there are quite a few assumptions being made. We’re assuming that sitting in the centre actually win elections. There already is a party in the centre. If being in the centre of politics is what wins you votes, then why have the Liberal Democrats never been in power? Surely, they should be the party in power more than any of the others. The fact that they aren’t, goes some way to indicating that being in the centre of politics doesn’t really achieve anything. If the politics of Tony Blair is such a good idea then why did Labour ever lose power?
We’re also assuming that being on the left of politics does not win elections. Is that true? That doesn’t feel right. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood politics, but I thought it worked something like this. We have a political spectrum. On the left, are all the people who believe that we’re all one big team, and we have to treat each other how we would like to be treated ourselves. On the right, are all the people who like life to be a competition with winners and losers, and to hell with anybody who doesn’t win. Then there are the people who sit in the middle and flip flop from side to side depending on the issue and how they happen to feel on the day. We the people, vote for the party that most closely matches our own opinions. The party that has the most people who share their opinions, wins an election. The leadership coup in the Labour Party was started by people who don’t agree with my thinking. They think that the parties have to fit their policies to match the opinions of the most people so that they can be in power. I see that as criminally dishonest, especially as Brexit has shown us the long-term results of people traditionally on the left going unrepresented in British politics.
Regardless of how you feel about the politics of the situation, you’ve got to be at least a little bit disgusted at how it all came about. The behaviour of the PLP has been childish, to say the least. Their entire campaign is based on lies, slander, and misinformation. It feels like they’ve taken a page out of the Brexit playbook, just shouting lies, and never letting up.
It doesn’t matter that Jeremy Corbyn travelled more miles, and made more television appearances than any other Labour MP, or that the greatest proportion of any group of party supporters to vote Remain, were Labour supporters. The PLP just continue to blame Jeremy for the referendum result, as if it was all his fault. They even dusted off Peter Mandelson to once again offer his greatly sought after opinion. That opinion was that Jeremy Corbyn actively sabotaged the Remain campaign. How did he do that? Apparently, by not campaigning hard enough. That’s the most ridiculous accusation I’ve ever heard. As if Corbyn was sat at home, worried that we might not leave the EU, and decided that the best thing he could do to help, was to not campaign hard enough. What a crock. Did he not campaign at all? Even voice the opinion that he thought we should leave the EU? No. He didn’t campaign hard enough. How dumb do they think we are?
There have been many other accusations of many other wrong doings from Jeremy and his supporters, although, most of them seem to come from Angela Eagle. She lied about her office being vandalised, she lied about being forced to cancel a public appearance, and now she’s banging on about homophobic abuse. So far, all of them have turned out to be utter rubbish. Still, keep shouting the lie, that’s what they do. It’s a real shame, because what if Angela really is having to put up with homophobic abuse? We just don’t believe her.
Suffice it to say, the PLP don’t like Jeremy Corbyn, and they’re prepared to do whatever they need to do to get rid of him. This whole event is an article/show in its own right, and I could go on all day. All we really need to know is that all the childish game playing has resulted in the existence of Owen Smith. Of course, he did exist before, it’s just that nobody gave a shit.
Originally , it was Angela Eagle who thought that she would be a better leader than Jeremy. It turned out that not many people agreed with her, so once Owen decided that he’d like to have a crack at things, she pulled out of the race. Owen claims to be the person that will reunite the disagreeing sides of the party, as he says he wasn’t involved in the coup, he’s just somebody rolling up their sleeves and getting on with things. There are people who claim they were approached and asked for their support for Owen as leader, as far back as January. We know that the coup was planned for months before it actually happened because we know when people bought their campaign website URLs. The idea that people would put months of planning into a leadership coup, only for somebody who wasn’t involved to come along and be the sole opposition to the leader, is just crazy. Of course, he was involved. To believe that this whole thing wasn’t planned from the beginning is just naive.
The coup has exposed most of the PLP for what they are, little children. Lies and deceit have come thick and fast. Even Tom Watson was involved – http://evolvepolitics.com/tom-watson-architect-labour-coup/
Their timing has been appalling. Following the referendum, they should have been there to tear the government a new one, but they weren’t. They were busy trying to snatch a toy off Jeremy, then complaining that he broke it because he wouldn’t let go.
Owen Smith: The Early Days
Owen is Welsh, and currently the MP for Pontypridd. When looking into somebody like him, you start by look at where they came from. How did Owen get to where he is today?
He studied History and French at university. Not French History, History and French. From that point onwards, I had trouble understanding Owen’s working life. He goes from job to job, seemingly totally unqualified for whatever he’s doing. His degree in history and French, got him a job as a producer for BBC Wales radio, where he worked for many years. I’m not entirely sure how a degree in history and French qualifies you to be a radio producer, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and say that it’s probably a job you’d expect somebody with a degree to be able to do. Owen’s Dad was Editor of BBC Wales at the time. I’m sure that had nothing to do with anything.
The thing is that it had everything to do with it. While researching this article, I found a profile of Owen Smith written by the BBC. I’ve linked you to it. The thing is, I was working from a PDF of the article, not the live page. Since I made my PDF, some corrections have been made. Here’s a link to an article that explains the problem – https://www.byline.com/project/54/article/1212 It turns out that Owen’s Dad was already at the BBC when Owen got his job there, and he owes that job to his Dad. That’s how every man of the people starts out. When his dad gets him his first job. By all accounts, it seems that Owen wasn’t the greatest radio producer, but that didn’t matter. Everything was going to change for Owen.
One day, Paul Murphy, the Welsh Secretary, found himself lacking in the special advisor department. When the Welsh Secretary needs a special advisor, they go straight to a list of radio producers and start picking their advisor. Right? Luckily for Owen, that’s probably what happened. In 2002 he moved to a job that absolutely nothing in his life had prepared him for. How does one get a job like that? Are they advertised in the paper? Wanted: Special Advisor to Welsh Secretary. No experience necessary, no qualifications required. At this point I’d like to ask who’s what was Owen was sucking, but then I’d have nowhere to go when I talk about his next job.
What happens next is mental. It’s not a secret, but it’s something that gets washed over every time it gets mentioned. Owen, who studied History and French, went on to be a radio producer in a job his Dad got him, followed by a few years as a political apprentice, special advisor, then somehow goes to work for Pfizer in the biotech industry.
I’m having trouble wrapping my head around this. What was the interview process? Did he see an advert in the paper and decide to go for it? Or was it just given to him by somebody he knew? I must remember to start working in the biotech industry, it sounds like it pays well. I’m assuming I’m as qualified for that job as I am for being a Special Advisor.
His job at Pfizer was Head of Policy and Government Relations. That sounds like quite a big position to just fall into. Never the less, Owen was now in big pharma. He claims he wasn’t a lobbyist, but it looks like he’s the only person who thinks so. It is said that his job was to work with the NHS to help customer choice. The choice he was helping to provide, was one where you choose to pay for your hospital treatment. At the moment you only have one choice, to receive free treatment. How restrictive is that? It would be better for everybody if we had the choice of paying. Right? It reminds me of the time when my bank restricted which ATMs I could use, telling me that it was because my life had been too complicated with all those cash machines out there. What I really needed was to only be able to use their own brand of cash machines, you know, to make my life easier.
While Owen was working for large pharmaceutical companies, he also ran to be a member of Parliament. Apparently, his employers were very pleased with his political ambitions. I bet they were. Why wouldn’t a large pharmaceutical company enjoy having an employee as a member of parliament? He’s a walking conflict of interests.
Eventually, he won his chance to be an MP and went to join Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet. He was the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary. It was his job to argue with Ian Duncan Smith. You can take a look at his voting record and see what you think. Some people are quite upset with some of the choices he made. I can’t say they’re all bad, but some of them are. Of course, how bad they are, depends on where you sit on the political spectrum.
The Leadership Election
During this leadership election, there have been plenty of opportunities to find out what the two candidates are all about. Jeremy has his policies, and Owen has all of Jeremy’s policies too. Today, a prominent anti-Corbyn, writer from the Daily Mail, said that Owen just adds the words “but we need to be in power” to the end of all of Jeremy’s ideas. He’s basically right.
Time and time again, through all of the debates, and rallies held around the country, Owen has shown us that he’s got very little to offer. He just seems to be of the opinion that he can somehow do something that Jeremy can’t. I’m not sure what he thinks that is, or how he thinks he can get it done.
Owen keeps banging on about reuniting the Labour Party. I can’t help but feel that all if would take is for him and his mates to shut up.
Honestly, there’s not much in it between them as far as policies go. Owen has put his foot in it a couple of times, for example, suggesting a sit-down chat with ISIS. He’s certainly not the sharpest tool in the shed. What about that time we got to jump on him for saying he knock Teresa May back on her heals. Silly. I’ve never even heard that expression before and he managed to pull it out and piss people off with it.
Political bickering aside, here’s the one thing I can’t really get my head around. Even if you think Jeremy Corbyn isn’t a great leader of the party, how can you think that Owen Smith is? I totally understand how some people might be thinking that following the popular vote is the right thing to do, but I will never understand how Owen is the solution to our problem. He couldn’t get people to turn up and support him when he gave away free ice cream. I’d have gone if I’d know there was free ice cream, and I don’t even like him.
After being told that Owen Smith is the answer to a question I didn’t ask, I can’t help but struggle to understand what it is that people like about him. When I listen to him talk, I think he sounds like a teenager arguing with his Dad. It’s like he thinks he knows everything, when everyone else can easily see that he knows nothing.
To a certain extent, I’m worried about what would happen if he wins. The Labour Party I want to support will be gone and I’ll be left with nothing. So will all the people who share my politics. Do we then have to go along with the Tory-lite Labour Party? Put up and shut up? Do we start a new party that actually represents our values?
And what if Owen doesn’t win? It’s the most likely scenario at this point, and the signs aren’t good that the PLP will behave like grown-ups once the dust has settled. They haven’t done it so far and I have absolutely no reason to believe that they’ll start any time soon.
I can’t see Owen as the leader of the party. He’s lacking gravitas and authority. During the debates I got the feeling that his kids get away with everything, I know I would have done if he were my Dad. That’s not the kind of person we want to put up as our candidate for Prime Minister. We need a person who can scare the person stood opposite in the Commons. Owen Smith has never scarred anyone. Ever.
This has been a difficult article to write. If you want to know about Owen’s history, it’s all there on the Internet. If you want to know what his policies are and what he’s like as a person, that’s all there too. What I’m really trying to communicate to you is the feeling of warning that Owen gives me. My spider sense is tingling, and not in a good way. He really is trying to become the leader of the Labour Party by copying the policies of the leader he’s trying to unseat. There’s nothing special about him, and the only good reason for voting for him people keep coming up with, is that he isn’t Jeremy Corbyn. That’s the kind of thinking that got us to vote to leave the EU.
Is everything going well? Of course it isn’t. The party is in a mess because the PLP aren’t happy, and are acting like children. The way to get things back together again has very little to do with Owen Smith. This is exactly what happened in America when the Democrats chose between Hilary and Bernie. Jeremy is our Bernie. We just have to keep fighting for our beliefs and help to grow this swell of socialist attitude that seems to be building up around the country.
I don’t know if Jeremy is the best choice going forward, actually I think I’m probably the best choice, but whatever, I know it isn’t Owen.