In Defence of Liberty

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The Kinder Politics

Jeremy Corbyn is the new leader of the Labour Party, and gave his first conference speech. (Edited: The Guardian)

Jeremy Corbyn is the new leader of the Labour Party, and gave his first conference speech. (Edited: The Guardian)

Jeremy Corbyn has become the first Labour leader to receive a net negative satisfaction rating in their debut poll, via surveys from polling company Ipsos MORI [1]. When asked about the MP for Islington North, 33% of respondents to the Ipsos MORI Political Monitor said they had a favourable view of Mr Corbyn, whereas 36% had a unfavourable opinion.

Prior to this year, Michael Foot recorded a +2% net satisfaction score in his first Ipsos MORI poll as Labour leader, in November 1980. The highest debut rating was achieved by Neil Kinnock, when he took over the Labour leadership in 1983.

Ipsos MORI asks questions about favourability of party leaders. (Source: Ipsos MORI)

Ipsos MORI asks questions about favourability of party leaders. (Source: Ipsos MORI)

The only other Leader of the Opposition to receive a net negative score in this poll was William Hague, who lead the Conservatives against Tony Blair’s New Labour after the 1997 General Election, with -1%. Respondents had a neutral view of Iain Duncan Smith, when asked in September 2001.

Trusted on the NHS

This is concordant with YouGov polls [2], asking whether a new leader will do well or badly. 36% of respondents said Mr Corbyn will do well, compared to 44% who believe he will do badly. This is a net approval rating of -8%, meaning Mr Corbyn is the first party leader to receive a negative net approval score in this survey.

YouGov found Mr Corbyn was the first new leader to receive a net negative approval rating. (Source: Metro)

YouGov found Mr Corbyn was the first new leader to receive a net negative approval rating. (Source: Metro)

In addition, YouGov had previously asked whether Mr Corbyn was trustworthy on various major political issues [3]. The polling company found that the National Health Service was the only area of government policy where their survey respondents believed Mr Corbyn was trusted. 43% did not trust Mr Corbyn at all on matters of national defence.

Mr Corbyn's perception of trustworthiness is generally negative. (Source: YouGov)

Mr Corbyn’s perception of trustworthiness is generally negative. (Source: YouGov)

“Treat people with respect”

It was against these concerns that Mr Corbyn gave his first speech to the Labour Party’s annual conference [4], which was held in the seaside city of Brighton.

(Video: Channel 4 News)

The speech was far more concerned about values and vision, rather than the detail of formal party policy, focusing on humanitarian issues. A potential factor in his astounding election in the Labour leadership contest was Mr Corbyn’s calm and polite nature. There was a passage in Mr Corbyn’s speech with which I wholly agreed:

I do not believe in personal abuse of any sort. Treat people with respect. Treat people as you wish to be treated yourself. Listen to their views, agree or disagree but have that debate. There is going to be no rudeness from me. Maya Angelou said: “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

I want a kinder politics, a more caring society. Don’t let them reduce you to believing in anything less.

So I say to all activists, whether Labour or not, cut out the personal attacks. The cyberbullying. And especially the misogynistic abuse online.

Lisa Nandy, the new Shadow Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, checks her phone during Labour's very civil conference. (Source: Rex Features)

Lisa Nandy, the new Shadow Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, checks her phone during Labour’s very civil conference. (Source: Rex Features)

Despite international reputations for civility, British politics can be both rude and crude. The instant gratification of an insult is too often preferred to the consideration of intelligent debate. Protestors and tweeters scream ‘Tory scum’. Skulking comments complain about ‘leftards’.

Mr Corbyn is right: this should cease.

References

[1] Evans, H., Skinner, G., and Wheeler, M., 2015. Corbyn seen as more honest than other politicians but Cameron leads on other PM attributes. Ipsos MORI. Available from: https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3626/Corbyn-seen-as-more-honest-than-most-politicians-but-Cameron-leads-on-other-PM-attributes.aspx [Accessed: 4th October 2015]

[2] YouGov, 2015. YouGov / The Sun Survey Results 30th September 2015. Available from: http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/pjr713es5o/SunResults_150930_Corbyn_Website.pdf [Accessed: 4th October 2015]

[3] Dahlgreen, W., 2015. Public don’t think Corbyn will succeed. YouGov. Available from: https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/09/17/public-doubt-corbyn-success/ [Accessed: 4th October 2015]

[4] Labour, 2015. Speech by Jeremy Corbyn to Labour Party Annual Conference 2015. Available from: http://press.labour.org.uk/post/130135691169/speech-by-jeremy-corbyn-to-labour-party-annual [Accessed: 4th October 2015]

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  1. Pingback: Ipsos MORI and Cameron’s Popularity | In Defence of Liberty

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This entry was posted on October 4, 2015 by in National Politics and tagged , .
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